Even if one only counts Carolina Journal opinion submissions, there is tangible anger over President Biden’s student loan forgiveness order. The administration is receiving plenty of backlash on multiple fronts. Those include the graduates that worked and paid back loans on their own, but the more politically damaging group is the working class that never even went to college. Not only have the Democrats and large swaths of the left abandoned this constituency altogether, but student loan forgiveness is another signal of their growing disdain for that segment of the populace.
After all, many of those voters committed the unpardonable sin of politics by supporting Donald Trump.
However, Democrats used to be the working-class party — once a crown jewel of their political messaging. Cemented during FDR’s New Deal legacy and the politics of the Great Depression, working-class Americans saw Democrats as the advocate for the little guy and blue-collar workers.
“Daddy was a veteran, a southern Democrat; they ought to get a rich man to vote like that,” crooned most famously by the country band Alabama in the 1980s. Now, if one is singing anything, it’s the opposite.
Still, a few Democrats dissent from Biden’s push to untether their party from the working-class man and woman.
“Student loan forgiveness is seen by some as a cultural war — the elites with degrees who are on their path to economic security versus those who did not attend college and are working their butts off every day to make ends meet,” said Debra Dixon, former chief of staff at the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development at the Department of Education under President Obama.
Ohio Senate candidate and Congressman Tim Ryan, D, Ohio, locked in a tight race where there are still many non-college workers, is not on board. He favors a broader package of tax cuts and debt relief, not merely one that transfers wealth from non-college workers to more affluent college grads. He seems more interested in fairness, at least.
Most Democrats are on board, however. Their constituency is now chock-full of “rich coastal elites,” as many on the right prefer to tag them. At any rate, the federal government under Biden is now signaling even harder to middle America that there are indeed more privileges for the already privileged.
And if you object to student loan forgiveness, some throw out the usual accusations of “white privilege,” “racism,” or even “un-Christian.” As if it’s somehow un-Christian or racist to object to wealth transfers from poorer Americans to more affluent Americans, all the while piling on more debt and inflationary policies that plunder those with lower incomes.
Trump himself chimed in on loan forgiveness:
Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats have just orchestrated another election enhancing money grab, this time to the tune of $300,000,000,000 — and just like I predicted, it’s coming right out of the pocket of the working-class Americans who are struggling the most!
For whatever trouble Trump is in now, he’s right here. Most object because it’s easy to sense unfairness. After all, we learn fair and unfair as toddlers. It’s also easy to hold up the virtuous plumber or truck driver against the gender studies major perpetually throwing tantrums over long-held American virtues and values.
Yet, most Americans probably aren’t against reasonable proposals to fix the student loan fiasco, but they’re tired of continually getting the back of the hand from this administration.
I get why the poor and working class are abandoning Democrats. I just don’t fully get why the Democrats are leaving them behind with so much flippancy. If I were a conservative or a Republican politician, I’d continue to exploit the growing divide between Democrats and middle America. It’s a political gold mine for the taking, and Democrats can’t resist restocking that mine for their opponents.
Ray Nothstine is Carolina Journal opinion editor and Second Amendment research fellow at the John Locke Foundation.