Anger at the Plutocracy Isn’t Strong Enough to Make a Big Difference in November


Greg Sargent writes today that the Democratic strategy of going after the Koch brothers isn’t about the Kochs per se, but “a gamble on what swing voters think has happened to the economy, and on the reasons struggling Americans think they aren’t getting ahead”:

Dems are making an argument about what has happened to the economy, and which party actually has a plan to do something about it. Today’s NBC/WSJ poll finds support for the general idea that the economy is not distributing gains fairly and is rigged against ordinary Americans….The Democratic case is that the all-Obamacare-all-the-time message is merely meant to mask the GOP’s lack of any actual affirmative economic agenda, and even reveals the GOP’s priorities remain to roll back any efforts by Dems to ameliorate economic insecurity.

….I don’t know if the Dem strategy will work.

I think Sargent’s skepticism is warranted. The problem is that the NBC/WSJ poll he mentions doesn’t find an awful lot of evidence for seething anger. Here are the basic results:

Those are not really huge margins. The first question in particular is one they’ve been asking for two decades, and 55-39 is a very typical result, especially during times of economic weakness.

Given this, and given the extreme difficulty of a party in power taking advantage of economic discontent, will the Democratic strategy of bludgeoning Republicans over their plutocratic leanings work? I doubt it. Specific agenda items like a higher minimum wage, health care success stories, and universal pre-K seem more likely to work. At the margins, a bit of Koch bashing and a few high-profile Wall Street indictments might help a bit too, but only as an added fillip.

Oh, and a nice, short, decisive war against some minor global bad guy would also do wonders. In October, maybe.

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