In a Washington Post op-ed former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel offers some advice to Democrats which I wonder if they’ll be willing to take:
Trump wants to color this moment as one in which he is leading America forward and Democrats are dragging their feet. It is a narrative that falls nicely into his grievance-driven worldview. Each time we resist his efforts to reopen the economy, we come off as that much more effete and out of touch. He’s setting a trap for us.
And in politics, you can’t beat something with nothing. Rather than centering our agenda on resistance to the reopening he intends to trumpet, Democrats should respond by explaining how we intend to rebuild America.
To be clear, the issue here isn’t policy — or even economics. It’s culture. Democrats are so aligned with data, science and logic that we’ve lost sight of why so much of the country is skeptical of expertise. It was the elites who claimed we’d be welcomed as liberators to Iraq, where we would find weapons of mass destruction. It was the elites who talked up collateralized mortgages, and then bailed out Wall Street while Main Street suffered. In too many cases, the elites have gotten the big ones wrong and never paid any price.
Let me interrupt him. Are the Democrats really the party of “data, science and logic” or are they the party of credentialism? Scientists have preferences, agendas, and political preferences, too. Not every policy recommended by an expert reflects data, science, or logic but it’s a rare expert who will recommend a policy with which he or she disagrees ideologically.
What if, rather than sparring with Trump, Democrats presented a comprehensive plan to rebuild our roads, bridges, dams, school, hospitals and more — so we emerge from this crisis with a more vibrant economy? We will need millions of additional coders, cybersecurity analysts, nurses, construction workers, teachers, aides and more in the decades to come. How about offering these workers this bargain: As their hunt for work continues, Washington will give them another bonus if they pursue an online degree in coding, advanced manufacturing or nursing assistance, among other areas. We can turn crisis into opportunity, transforming our workforce into an army of American rebirth.
which completely confirms the point I made above. His answer is to seek credentials. That those credentials won’t be of much use when everyone in the world with a PC, an Internet connection, and a credential is competition for “coders” and willing to work for $5/hour. Or that there are, literally, millions of Mexican and Central American workers who would be delighted to take jobs as construction workers in the U. S. Or that Filipino nurses can be brought into this country and will work for less. Or that at least hereabouts there’s already a waiting list to get a job as a public school teacher and that by and large teachers’ aides are the next thing to volunteers—their pay is a pittance and, frequently, they aren’t even eligible for benefits. More than one qualified teacher is working as a teacher’s aide, not even able to pay off his or her educational debt.
And will Democrats take his advice? Will they take the risk of emerging from lockdown? And will they be willing to shelve “Green New Deal”-type plans in favor of producing and building more in the United States?