2017-02-13T12:45:39.475-06:00It's fine to go through the all the trouble of explaining why the Clintonista messaging is so hollow and cynical and generally useless particularly for the current political climate. But, really, all you have to understand is that when they say things as thoroughly tone deaf as, "It's about Nordstrom, not Fight For Fifteen" they are talking to donors and not to voters.
There are a few issues to note here. First, if anyone wondered whether Clinton Democrats would have learned that they needed to care more about economic issues, the answer is no. Palmieri, like Nancy Pelosi, does not sense any need to respond to the economic populism that led 13 million voters toward Bernie Sanders in the primary and helped Trump win crucial Rust Belt states. The standard progressive criticism of Clintonian centrism is that it values racial diversity and inclusive gender politics, but it actually doesn’t care about lifting the living standards of working-class people of any race or gender. Palmieri confirms that this impression is no myth; it’s “all about identity” these days, and we shouldn’t assume people want $15 an hour. (Is there actually anyone who doesn’t want $15 an hour?) And “power,” to this contingent of Democrats, is about whether you shop at Neiman Marcus or not. It’s not about, say, power in the workplace.Of course, also, they don't actually care about working class people's issues. But mostly what's happening is they were taught that the way to do politics is to reassure the donor class first. And that's all they know how to do.
But there’s a separate important question to ask: what is Palmieri actually talking about here? Look again at the above paragraph. It’s almost totally without meaning. What is “a safer place to be”? What does “it’s all about identity” even imply? Yes, one gets the fact that she’s rejecting calls to adopt more progressive economic policies, and that she thinks doing politics means deciding which expensive department store to shop at. But the most striking thing about the statement is its utter vacuousness. She wants to be supportive and empowering, but we get almost no specifics as to what that entails. (Palmieri also said that voters were “scared” rather than “angry,” a distinction just about as clear and useful as the one between “greatness” and “goodness” in the baffling Clinton slogan “America is great because America is good.”)