The New Deal legislation was established in the 1930’s at the end of the Great Depression. The idea was to establish some basic protections for those most vulnerable at the bottom of society.
During the 1960s Democrats took another great step toward what progressives regard as the real promise of America with some help from moderate Republicans when the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts were enacted, and a few years later federal environmental legislation.
From the 1950s to the 1980s the US was at its peak of power with high progressive tax rates that provided funds for massive investments in infrastructure and research and development, and a working class with a living standard that was the envy of the rest of the world.
Then a tiny group of very wealthy individuals using libertarian talking points established think-tanks, infiltrated institutions of higher learning, established media groups. They designed a message of a mythical elite of left-wing politicians, bureaucrats and academicians that had created an over-reaching federal government and an unconstitutional federal judiciary that had infringed on the liberty and rights of (white)Americans by creating our social safety net, environmental regulations and equal voting and civil rights.
Their anti-government propaganda with racist and sexist undertones found fertile ground with conservative blue-collar voters resentful of blacks, women, and minorities having obtained nominal equal rights and they enthusiastically embraced the right-wing messaging. These often previously Democratic voters began voting for huge tax cuts mostly benefiting the very wealthy, leading to the defunding of infra-structure investments, our social safety net and our environmental programs. These voters bear more responsibility for the demise of our country and our democracy than the general class of millionaires and billionaires that for the most part provide good and well-paying jobs and a great number of whom contribute huge resources to progressive causes.
The right-wing media claim that Democrats had betrayed (white) voting class voters (true for those that believe that blacks and other minorities should not have the same rights as whites) gradually has spread to main stream media and even to many Democrats. The continued repetitions of the lie of Democratic abandonment of the working class has taken on an existence of its own and is now often viewed as a political reality. Even many Democrats believe this but I for one am proud that Democrats stuck to the principles of protecting minorities in this country with its huge problem of structural racism that has loomed throughout our history even though it led to loss of political power.
This insidious perversion of reality has been an important factor in the Republican Party degenerating into a force committed to dismantle our social safety net, destroy our environmental protections, and reduce our public institutions to pawns of special, corporate interests while at the same time holding Democrats responsible.
The elections of 2017 and 2018 provide evidence that the policies of the Republican Party have finally become so toxic that the general mood of the US electorate seems to have shifted dramatically. Particularly women and older educated white voters have moved into the progressive ranks. We have quite a few solid center-left candidates that will not be offensive to these new voter groups or to our most faithful group, blacks, and at the same time can win in red districts all around the country.
By Richardt Stormsgaard