Middle Class

Obama's not so glorious legacy

512px-Barack_Obama_thinking,_first_day_in_the_Oval_Office.jpg

Like a child star who reached his peak at age 15, Barack Obama could never fulfill the inflated expectations that accompanied his election. After all not only was he heralded as the “smartest” president in history within months of assuming the White House, but he also secured the Nobel Peace Prize during his first year in office. Usually, it takes actually settling a conflict or two — like Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter — to win such plaudits.  read more »

“There Can’t Be a Successful Indianapolis Without a Successful Indiana”

Indiana_State_Capitol_Market_St.jpg

Back in 2008 or 2009 I gave a Pecha Kucha presentation in Indianapolis in which I said:

"Cities can’t survive on gentrification alone. The broad community has to be a participant in its success. That’s why I’m somewhat down on the notion of the creative class. It’s good as far as it goes, but it’s a self-consciously elitist vision. Where’s the working class in that?  read more »

How Silicon Valley’s Oligarchs Are Learning to Stop Worrying and Love Trump

31530266372_ee9766fa7e_b.jpg

The oligarchs’ ball at Trump Tower revealed one not-so-well-kept secret about the tech moguls: They are more like the new president than they are like you or me.

In what devolved into something of a love fest, Trump embraced the tech elite for their “incredible innovation” and pledged to help them achieve their goals—one of which, of course, is to become even richer. And for all their proud talk about “disruption,” they also know that they will have to accommodate, to some extent, our newly elected disrupter in chief for at least the next four years.  read more »

The Future of Racial Politics

140107597_84f3f6782f_z.jpg

From its inception, the American experiment has been dogged by racial issues. Sadly, this was even truer this year. Eight years after electing the first African-American president, not only are race relations getting worse, according to surveys, but the electorate remains as ethnically divided as in any time of recent history.     read more »

Babes In Trumpland: The Coming Rise Of The Heartland Cities

Trump_Cedar_Rapids_(28631732735).jpg

Contrary to the media notion that Donald Trump's surprising electoral victory represented merely the actions of unwashed “deplorables," his winning margin was the outcome of rational thinking in those parts of the country whose economies revolve around the production of tangible goods.

And their economies stand to gather more steam in the years ahead.  read more »

The Corbynization of the Democratic Party

640px-Hillary_Clinton_thumbs.jpg

The Democratic Party’s current festival of re-examination is both necessary and justified. They have just lost to the most unpopular presidential candidate in recent memory. Lockstep media support and a much larger war chest were not enough to save them from losing not only the presidency, but also in state races across the country.  read more »

Tearing Down American Dream Boundaries: An Imperative

american-dream.JPG

Donald Trump’s election victory has been widely credited attracting households who have been “left behind,” by stagnating or declining income and lost jobs. But the left-behind also includes many households whose    standards of living are being reduced by the rising cost of housing. This is not about affordable housing for low-income households, itself very important, but a crisis among  middle-income households  no longer able to afford their own homes in some parts of the nation.  read more »

Five Ideas to Make America Greater

Make_America_Great_Again_hat_(27149010964).jpg

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was based on the notion that he could “Make America Great Again.” But beyond the rhetoric — sometimes lurching into demagoguery — the newly elected president comes to office, as one commentator suggests, “the least policy-savvy president in history.”  read more »

Trumping the Elites

US_Secretary_of_State_Hillary_Rodham_Clinton_Meets_Japanese_Foreign_Minister_Seiji_Maehara_in_Hawaii_101027-F-LX971-088.jpg

She had it all—the pliant media, the tech oligarchs, Wall Street, the property moguls, the academics, and the all-around “smart people.” What Hillary Clinton didn’t have was flyover country, the economic “leftovers,” the small towns, the unhipstered suburbs, and other unfashionable places. As Thomas Frank has noted, Democrats have gone “from being the party of Decatur to the party of Martha’s Vineyard.” No surprise, then, that working- and middle-class voters went for Donald Trump and helped him break through in states—Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa—that have usually gone blue in recent presidential elections.  read more »

The Improbable Demographics Behind Donald Trump's Shocking Presidential Victory

Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore_5.jpg

n an election so ugly and so close, one is reluctant to proclaim winners. But it’s clear that there’s a loser — the very notion of the United States of America.

Instead we have populations and geographies that barely seem to belong in the same country, if not on the same planet. The electorate is so divided that many states went for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton by lopsided margins. The Northeast was solidly Democratic, with Clinton winning New York, Massachusetts and Vermont with three-fifths of the vote or more. Washington, D.C., heavily black and the seat of the bureaucracy and pundit class, delivered an almost Soviet-style 93% to 4% margin.  read more »