Within minutes of US president Joe Biden’s inauguration, an enthusiastic social media account announced that it stood “ready to help in your efforts to tackle climate change, control the spread of Covid-19, reboot our economy, & advance commonsense immigration reform that honours America’s diversity. It’s Day 1!”

Such passion is not uncommon among Democratic party activists. But in this case the cheerleader was Amazon.

The enthusiasm for Mr Biden from a company that has America’s second largest private sector workforce and third-largest market capitalisation, and has been accused of anti-union and anti-competitive practices, is a peculiar feature of modern US politics.

In the popular imagination, Democrats represent lower- and middle-class workers against powerful corporate interests. But the party’s donors, activists and advisers are animated by progressive social priorities that divert attention away from economic problems. Among them, systemic racism, which demands little from the elite beyond press releases, climate change, to be solved by public spending and subsidies, and immigration reform which will probably increase the supply of cheap labour. Of course Amazon is on board.

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Oren Cass
Oren Cass is the executive director at American Compass.
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