My second take on Trump, which I never got around to writing, boils down to the observation that Trump offered rural whites an explanation as to what has caused them to fall so far behind and a way to reassert control over their own lives. While his explanation is bullshit, it's at least an explanation. Democrats offered concrete policy improvements but they didn't offer what mattered to voters, an explanation, a solution, and most critically a way to have some control over their lives, such as whether or not their local plant closed. My impression is that rural voters are a lot less worried about wages than they are about the mere continued existence of their jobs; in low wage, less urbanized areas a higher wage through policies such as a minimum wage hike could often be seen as a threat to the continued existence of the crap job that's at least a job.
But what if Democrats had offered something more concrete then the 30 second hate offered by Trump about devious, cheating foreigners stealing our jobs through some magical, unspecified mechanism? The following is a brief outline of the dream speech of my idealized next populist candidate. Warning, it's NSFW, I believe that a key way to connect with low information voters is to violate elite norms, swearing like a sailor is a norm violation that doesn't involve racism and misogyny.
Every day I hear from Americans frightened that the plant they work for will close down, their company will fold, or that they'll get laid off. They tell me about how they're so frightened that they can't say not to anything the boss asks of them. They're working so many hours that they hardly see their kids, that they're stressed all the time, and that they feel work has taken over their lives. Then they repeat the lies they've been told every day of their lives, that this is because of foreign competition, robots, or because they don't have the right skills.
This is bullshit. The person to blame for the hours you work, the local plant closing down, and your home town withering isn't some faceless foreigner or market forces. It's the guy that closed the plant. It's the motherfucker sitting in a board room claiming he's doing it because stockholders are demanding higher returns, he traded your life and everything you value for a fucking one cent increase in the damn share price. To make it even more insulting, something my MBA taught me is that the majority of offshoring fails. They know this, they aren't doing it because that one plant was a bust. They're doing it because they know that if they close this or that plant that you're going to be fucking scared. And if they can keep you scared they know they don't have to give you a raise, that you won't join a union to stand up to them, and that they can keep fucking you however they damn well please while your life falls apart around you.
To add insult to injury, they don't think there's anything you can do about it. They own the fucking media and most of the fucking politicians so they know that there's no way to organize opposition to them, whenever you get mad enough they'll just fill the news with some bullshit about foreigners while they reach into your back pocket and steal your wallet.
Well, it's time that we take our country back from these lying motherfuckers. I am going to propose a constitutional amendment to recognize employee's property rights in the companies that they work for. You built those companies, not some rich asshole who bought a bunch of stock and tours a facility now and then to look self important and make everyone bow and scrape.
Anyone that has held a job knows that they, and their coworkers, often go above and beyond to make things work in their business. They build up best practices, innovate new ways of doing business, make suggestions, work a bit off the clock to make things run smoothly, and do hundreds of other little things that are necessary for a real organization to work and improve. This is all investment. But unlike the asshole that ponies up a few bucks for a share you don't get shit for all this hard work.
My pledge to you is that this will change. We will create a national corporate law which recognizes an employee's contributions to the company and which gives employees a right to representation on a corporate board. Employees rights will be proportional to their contributions relative to those that contributed capital, so in the oldest, largest companies employees will get to choose the vast majority of board members with stockholders only having a handful, while in smaller, newer companies the founder will maintain control until the company grows beyond what it can be reasonably said one man had built. We will further extend provisions for employees to choose their own management, in the largest companies only the employees being supervised are really in a position to understand what they need in a manager, I'm sure you've all seen how often disasters are picked by those higher up the ladder.
I can be certain that these proposals will be met with the most vicious opposition by the managers, large stockholders, the media, and the other powerful members of the elite. We are going to be taking away their power after all. But we will be leaving them with their wealth, we aren't taking anything from them but their power to treat you as a dependent and make decisions for you. What they're really afraid of is that you will take personal responsibility in your workplaces and hold these assholes accountable for their fucking actions. They've taken the dignity of independence and responsibility from you, it's time to take rewrite our corporate laws to hold those guilty of this accountable.
They're going to be lying about how important they are, calling themselves brilliant and necessary for the functioning of the economy. But don't listen to their propaganda! The only thing they know how to do is to take credit for the investments you are making in these companies. They'll tell you how important they are for making investments, but all they're doing is taking the advice of a finance department. Each and every one of you would be a brilliant investor too if you had millions to invest and a staff doing nothing but tell you where to put your money. They'll tell you that they're necessary for making business decisions. You are the ones that meet with customers every day, know the problems and bottlenecks production is facing, and do the daily work of the business day in and day out. You know more than any outsider can, you're the ones with the special, firm specific knowledge necessary to choose a CEO. There's a reason that so many CEOs are bad fits for the company, that so many fail, and that so many do little other than collect fat paychecks for failure. It's because it is some outside investor, with their hands in so many other companies, are the ones choosing executives and not the employees. And they're choosing these executives from the same narrow, elite group that has been doing nothing but fucking up the economy for the past 10 years.
They'll tell you they're the best, the brightest, and have most merit. Well, not only is this easy if you have a staff, but even if it's true who do you think is going to do a better job, someone chosen to work in your interest or someone brilliant but chosen to work in someone else's interest? I think the answer is obvious, but if you ever wondered why the rich keep getting richer even though Americans lack jobs, our companies are only doing OK, and everyone is pissed off and angry you need to look no further that our companies are run in the interests of outside shareholders rather than the employees that make up the company. They talk about the importance of having skin in the game, but who has skin in the game? You, whose mortgage, car payment, groceries, and maybe your kids education are on the line, or the diversified stockholders who will write off any losses as they manage the rest of their portfolio and write off your plant, and your life, failing as nothing but the cost of doing business.
So what can you do to change this? You can vote. Not just for me, the President can't do this on their own, but for my party in offices at every level. We will need Congress, both the Senate and the House, to pass the bills. And we will need large majorities, I know the elites are running scared and are going to do everything they can to subvert the will of the people. But it's not even just the national level, I know at least half the Supreme Court will be in the pockets of the elites they attend cocktail parties and play golf with. They will do everything they can to stop this, even though we clearly have Constitutional authority under the commerce clause. To forestall this we will need a Constitutional Amendment so that even the most corrupt Supreme Court can't tear down what we've built. This will mean controlling the state legislatures and Governors, we will need three quarters of them to make this vision a reality.
Now, I know, many of you like divided government. But our system is built the way it is to prevent major changes like this unless there is overwhelming support. So to do this, to take America back from the elites that have stolen it from us, we will need overwhelming support. No matter what the other party once stood for, with this proposal the elites will unify behind them to stop you. And we can't let that happen.
To do this we will need every American to vote. Our victory must be overwhelming to overcome America's checks and balances. And everyone has a stake in this. For those without jobs, who do you think is more likely to increase staff levels, employees at local firms who are sick of 60 hour weeks or the stockholders who are profiting from those long hours? Who is more likely to invest in new plants in America, the employees of profitable companies or the stockholders who will turn around and use those profits to "diversify" their portfolios? For everyone that has ever said that both parties are the same or that both sides do it in this election there is a clear choice, a party that believes that everyone should have a say in the big decisions that effect their jobs and lives and the other party who believes that the elites should be making the decisions that effect you for you. In this election, with the forces arrayed against us, every vote will count. You might be the straw that breaks the camel's back. But you can be more than a single straw! Make sure your friends vote, your relatives, you can even harangue strangers at the bar to vote! This election can be what puts America back on track, the one day that can finally stand up to those that have taken so much from you and say I built that, this is mine, and I need to have a say in the company that I built! We will no longer stand for boards of directors chosen by shareholders claiming to represent the companies Americans work for. The employees are the fucking companies! NO MORE REPRESENTATION WITHOUT ACCOUNTABILITY! Those that claim to represent us WILL BE ACCOUNTABLE TO US!