Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Is There a Future for the American Middle Class?

This discussion between Michael Lind and Walter Russell Mead is a must-watch.  Among Lind’s observations:

-The USA is actually becoming less racially polarized as more integration is taking place along socioeconomic, geographical, institutional, and even partisan lines.

-More class polarization is taking place but the working class is fragmented on a functional, occupational, geographic, and demographic basis in a way that does not reflect a unity or harmony of working-class interests.

-The culture war is the primary divide in US politics with education level being the main determining factor concerning which side of the culture war someone will be on. This is consistent with my view that the culture war is essentially religious/existential in nature and not primarily racial or socioeconomic.

-Both sides include hawks and doves, economic liberals and economic conservatives, but the real dividing line is social issues.

-The most successful political party will be the one with the largest and therefore most incoherent coalition. He advised the parties to have a minimal national program and maintain a diversity of interests at the regional and local level (basically the same approach I have advocated for anarchists).

Join Hudson Institute’s Distinguished Fellow Walter Russell Mead for a discussion with author Michael Lind on the future of America’s middle class in an age of automation and globalization, and prospects for the GOP as the party of the working class.

Social and economic changes are putting immense pressure on the American working class. The college-educated managerial class has gained higher social status as industries dominated by blue collar, middle class Americans are under pressure from automation and global trade. Donald Trump campaigned against this trend, and his success with blue-collar voters has led many to recast the GOP as the natural party of the working class. As the American economy becomes increasingly mechanized, what role will the middle-class play in American life? Will the Republican Party’s gains with blue collar voters prove to be a permanent shift?

This conversation is part of a series entitled “The Future of the Middle Class” hosted by Hudson Institute’s Center for the Future of Liberal Society. In this series, Hudson Distinguished Fellow Walter Russell Mead moderates thought-provoking discussions with policy experts on some of the most pressing challenges associated with rebuilding the economy and promoting the prosperity of America’s middle class.

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