In the popular imagination, politicians are calculating crowd-pleasers: poll-tested and focus-grouped to death, delivering messages honed to win an election. In fact, they are just people, susceptible to the same biases as everyone else. Most of what they know about public policy and voters they learn from the advisers who surround them and the donors who pay to be near them. Most of their judgments about popular opinion reflect the views of their friends.
As US society has stratified, the highly educated and compensated professionals who dominate politics can rise through the system while interacting only with people like themselves. As a result, parties have unmoored from working families’ priorities and become preoccupied instead with the passions and bugbears of elites in universities and on Wall Street.
In this commentary for the Financial Times, Cass considers what the presidential candidates would be talking about if workers and their interests were of primary concern
The president’s policies divide Democrats and the upper class from everyone else
While Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States and Donald Trump will join the small club of incumbents who could not get re-elected, it’s fair to say that Biden’s triumph was not so overwhelming that it even begins to settle the question of which party will dominate the 2020s.