As you read this, rich and powerful people in Washington, DC are trying to determine not whether they should cut programs designed to help low and middle-income Americans, but by how much they should cut those programs. The rich and powerful people in DC are making these cuts in order to pay for tax breaks they recently gave to rich people and large corporations. Additionally, the cuts are being made at the behest of the lobby organizations and media operations owned by rich people and large corporations.
If that isn't a class war, I don't know what is. For the past 40 years, the outcomes of the political battles in this war have almost always approximated the forthcoming debt ceiling deal. Stuff for low and middle-income people gets cut. Stuff for big corporations and the wealthy gets protected.
In this depressing environment, it feels good to see ads in the Wisconsin recall elections that are fighting the class war in the other direction, on behalf of low and middle-income Americans and against the wealthy. For example, here is a recent ad that We Are Wisconsin is running against Republican Luther Olsen:
Several organizations have been running ads like these against Republicans in Wisconsin, such as the ad of Wisconsin protesters by Democracy for America and the PCCC that got big play back in the spring.
Watching ads with this simple message—elected officials taking money from the middle class and giving it to rich people and big corporations—makes it easy to understand why Republicans get huffy whenever they think Democrats are engaging in class warfare. When you fight the class war from the other direction, it can be very effective.
Polling shows it working, too:
Mellman Group for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, 713/-14, 350 likely voters, MoE 5, no public trendlines.
Sandy Pasch (D): 47
Alberta Darling (R-inc): 46
Pasch now joins Jessica King and Jennifer Shilling as Democratic challengers leading incumbent Republicans in the latest Wisconsin recall election polling. Democrats need to pick up three seats to take control of the state Senate. With all three Democratic incumbents ahead, the available public polling now shows Democrats winning the campaign overall. Keep in mind that there hasn't even been a public poll in the Luther Olsen versus Fred Clark election, where a generic Democrat led back in March.
Democrats are fighting a class war in Wisconsin, and they're winning. Granted, there have been prominent ads in the Wisconsin recall elections with very different messages, such as the DLCC hitting Republican Dave VanderLeest on his criminal record, and our Daily Kos ads targeting Randy Hopper for his mistress getting a state job and a raise. While those are good ads, any electoral victory that would come as a result of them would not strike a blow in the class war or build progressive power. Electoral victories stemming from the personal flaws of the candidates you oppose are one-off, tactical success stories. Electoral victories stemming from your core ideological messaging are strategic successes that build real power.
There is a class war being fought in Washington, DC right now, but it's extremely one-sided and so the outcome is obvious. By contrast, in Wisconsin the class war is being fully engaged from both sides, and the outcome there is balanced on the edge of a knife. That shouldn't come as a surprise, since there is no way to win a class war unless you fight one.