One indicator of progressive hatred of Donald Trump that deserves more contemplation is this: The Democratic party is moving left with breathtaking velocity. Not only is it far to the left of Bill Clinton, it’s well to the left of even Barack Obama. Two and a half years before the next presidential election, with a wide-open race to be the party’s standard-bearer against President Trump, there’s no telling how far left the contenders for the nomination will have to move to enthuse the most ardent party members. Trump’s reelection campaign may well center on positioning him as reasonable and moderate. The Democrats appear intent on helping him do that.
Consider a new Gallup poll this week that revealed that party members no longer even concede that the existence of rich people is a good thing. The poll question was, “Do you think the United States benefits from having a class of rich people, or not?” Only 43 percent of Democrats said yes, as opposed to 81 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of independents. As recently as 2012, shortly after the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement drew rapturous media coverage, 52 percent of Democrats agreed it’s a good thing to have rich people in this country.
Who do Democrats expect to pay for government if not rich people? In 2015, the top 1 percent of earners paid a greater share of individual income tax than the bottom 90 percent combined. The top 5 percent paid 60 percent of total individual income taxes. If these people were chased out of the country via confiscatory tax policies, the United States would collapse. Not only is the existence of rich people a good thing for the country overall, but if you’re poor, they are paying for all of your government stuff.
This level of rank class resentment used to be utterly alien to the U.S., even among progressives. So let’s not underplay what’s going on here. The Democratic party is swiftly turning radical. Its members’ beliefs make Obama look like a moderate. Trump will be able to claim plausibly that his policies are far closer to Bill Clinton’s than the Democrats’ next presidential nominee’s are.