This is just a fantastic clip. Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) grills JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon on how his employees are supposed to live on the salaries they’re given:
I’d suggest that there are many, many Americans who feel completely neglected by a political system that kowtows to people like Dimon. This is a political system which looks to him for expertise; which sees him as successful and smart and interesting and insightful; and which seems to believe that he deserves everything he has — and that the single mom making $16.50 deserves everything she has, or doesn’t have.
The political genius of Trump — a completely disingenuous, deceptive, mean-spirited genius — is that he convinced a good chunk of the country at some point that he was going to fight for them — really fight. He would risk unpopularity, pick fights, and tear the whole corrupt system down on behalf of the “working man”. He would fight.
Elizabeth Warren (eg.) is also a fighter; but on the Democratic side, and also in the professional media, a person like her gets read very differently. I seem to read this kind of sentiment fairly frequently: The rich own everybody; they’ll never let you win; everything is corrupt. Followed by: Elizabeth Warren [or, insert xyz progressive, anti-corporate politician] is a big phony. In other words, agreement with Warren’s entire thesis and body of work — and then a disavowal of the person. This is a doublethink that the right-wing media-industrial complex has gotten awfully good at manufacturing. But the close relationship of the Democratic Party to corporate interests hasn’t helped.
Porter, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sherrod Brown, and a few others are pretty good at making that connection. It needs to work. Smoothing over class conflict won’t work anymore; gone is the era where it was plausible that a rising tide lifts all boats. And when people feel that you’re looking out for their basic needs — a job, health care, a little security — perhaps they’ll go along with a social program of things seen to be slightly more removed from their very immediate needs: Civil rights for others, a livable planet for their kids, etc. Relief from a sense of constant scarcity and threat might open the door for a bit more compassion in our politics.
You’ve got to choose sides.