The Triumph of the Plutocratic Technocrats

Michael Barone has noticed that what I’ve been predicting is happening. From his piece at RealClearPolitics:

Modest-income Jews used to be the key group in New York. White married homeowners were it in Los Angeles. “Bungalow ward” ethnics dominated in Chicago. In time, they faced challenges from candidates with nonwhite political bases — blacks, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in New York, Mexicans in Los Angeles, and blacks and Hispanics in Chicago. Now gentry liberals are on top.

This reflects demographic change. Blacks have been moving from central cities to suburbs and the South. Mexican immigrant inflow largely shut down circa 2008. Affluent professionals and single college graduates have colonized — gentrified — neighborhoods such as Park Slope, Silver Lake and Wicker Park, with bedraggled but potentially attractive housing stock convenient to downtowns.


Gentrification thus inevitably reshapes the Democratic Party, which, from its beginnings in 1832, has been a series of coalitions of people regarded as somehow unusual Americans but who, taken together, are a national majority.

“Majority minority” hasn’t resulted in more attention being paid to the issues that matter to blacks, the issues that matter to Hispanics, or both. it’s enabled each group to be played off against the other by well-heeled, mostly white political operatives and apparatchiks who’ve cross-ruffed appointive and/or elective office with Rolodex hires by banks and other large companies, particularly financial companies into wealth.

They always claim they’re going to sock it to the rich but somehow it never happens. They are the rich.

The issues that will dominate the agenda among Democrats are the issues that matter to these “gentry liberals”, as Mr. Barone calls them.

10 comments… add one
  • steve Link

    So now the rich are Democrats? Boy are the Koch brothers going to be disappointed to find that out. Anyway, the way I would phrase it is that the wealthy have always dominated the GOP, and now they also dominate much of the Dems agenda too. (Of course Barone concentrates on big cities to further drive home the liberal elites meme. Go to the big cities in conservative cities and guess who runs things? The wealthy! Duh! In medium sized and smaller cities that probably varies a bit more, but you can be sure the wealthy are seldom under represented.)


  • Of the billionaires in the Open Secrets database more than half are Democrats. But billionaires are just the top .01% of income earners. Rahm Emanuel, Bill De Blasio, and Eric Garcetti are all rich white guys even if they aren’t billionaires.

    This is not news, steve, and treating it as though it were or an outrageous claim is just baffling. Joe Kennedy was the richest man in the world, for goodness sake. Do the names Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos mean anything to you?

    Right now in Illinois the leading Democratic and Republican candidates in the governor’s race are both billionaires. Does the name Pritzker ring a bell with you? Big Obama backers. Both parties are the parties of the rich but only Democrats advertise themselves as the party of the little guy. While I agree that Democrats don’t hold a monopoly on hypocrisy, it’s no new thing.

  • steve Link

    Uhh, that is from one year, 2014 an off year campaign. Looking at presidential campaign years conservatives dominate. Read the whole article and/or go to Open Secrets. However, this lists look only at the 30% or so of the top 100 that they can find records on. We don’t know for sure about the other 70%. But we sort of do. Statistician Andrew Gelman has been following this for years. In any given election conservatives might preferentially donate to Democrats, especially if they thought they were going to win. However, if you follow this over time, and look at metrics other than donations on Open Secrets, the wealthy still lean to the right. (Look at exit polls and how people self identify, look at charitable donations, etc.) Even those who are Democrats and “liberals” are sometimes that way on social issues, ie they don’t want to kill gay people, but on economic issues tend conservative, ie they want the rich to get richer just like Republicans.

    Again, I think you are buying into the Big Lie which the GOP has become so good at carrying out. They say this over and over so you end up believing it.


  • And you believe the Big Lie that Democrats are the party of the little guy. Little guys like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, James Gorman, Larry Page, and Roger Ferguson. Guess they’re all exceptions. There is no party of the little guy just as there is no fiscally conservative party.

  • steve Link

    Uhhh, no. I just said above the the wealthy in the Democratic Party control much of the agenda also. I have never tried to quantify it, but I would guess they control most of the economic stuff and foreign policy, so I would be willing to stipulate they control most of what is important. No one really represents the little guy, whoever that is. The Dems still make some attempts to help poor people, the GOP essentially none. Mostly they just appeal to different groups of the wealthy.


  • The Dems still make some attempts to help poor people, the GOP essentially none.

    The two parties differ in how they want to “help poor people”. The Democrats want to help poor people by hiring more case workers, giving more grants to NGOs with “help poor people” as their mission statements, and paying physicians and hospitals more to care for them. The Republicans still believe in “trickle down”.

    Neither is a really effective way of dealing with the problem of poverty in the U. S.

  • TastyBits Link

    This is hilarious – @steve, poor little rich guy.

  • steve Link

    Yes, the GOP still believes, at least some do though I doubt the wealthy in the GOP believe or care, in trickle down, but they also believe in gutting Medicaid, just to cite an example. Everyone knows that health care spending needs to be cut. The GOP plan? Not what they talk about , but what they actually do? Cut Medicaid. Also, there is a significant body of literature suggesting that providing health care makes it more likely people end up working and not just living off of welfare. Does it eliminate poverty? No, but it helps reduce it.

    The thing about trickle down? It definitely helps the wealthy. that is not disputable. You just have to hope that after having made the wealthy even wealthier, it will somehow trickle down to everyone else. If it doesn’t? The wealthier still come out ahead.


  • walt moffett Link

    Wondering how we cut federal health care spending without cuts in provider payments and conditions covered.

    Moving on, this does explain why we had a 8 hour oration on DACA but not on say, guns, health care, student loans, police violence, the minimum wage, TANF/SNAP benefits, Social Security, pension fund collapses, etc. DACA is way to stick a thumb in some one’s eye, appease the Hispanic faction and keep seats secure in the blue metros.

  • Gray Shambler Link

    The pendulum will swing in the midterms, felt it in a Trump Tweet complaining about the spending bill he signed, Trump said we need to give our military all they need, and more! Need to elect more Republicans to rein in spending elsewhere.
    “Elsewhere” is getting Trump very close to that third rail. No spending of significance out there to cut but Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, which I signed up for on February 1. That’s why I said I “felt” it. And if I felt it, so did millions of my cohorts.

    That only means an opportunity for Democrat politicians, not for me. And Republicans will back away from that rail as soon as they read the polls.

    I still hope Trump is no war-monger, but we now know he takes call from daddy Warbucks.

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