“In its quest for prosperity, the Party of the People declared itself wholeheartedly in favor of a social theory that forthrightly exalted the rich—the all-powerful creative class.

To the liberal class, every big economic problem is really an education problem, a failure by the losers to learn the right skills and get the credentials everyone knows you’ll need in the society of the future.

Professional-class liberals aren't really alarmed by oversized rewards for society's winners; on the contrary, this seems natural to them -- because they are society's winners. The liberalism of professionals just does not extend to matters of inequality; this is the area where soft hearts abruptly turn hard.

Of course Republicans do it too. The culture wars unfold in precisely the same way as the liberal virtue-quest: they are an exciting ersatz politics that seem to be really important but at the conclusion of which voters discover they've got little to show for it all besides more free-trade agreements, more bank deregulation, and a different prison spree.”

Thomas Frank

The examples of the credibility trap are apparent, especially in the Democratic Party because their own contradictions are so glaring. It is harder to see in the Republicans because their hypocrisy in serving the wealthy faithfully in economic matters while duping the public with inflammatory cultural issues is almost a trademark.

I do not see meaningful reform coming until the status quo in American party politics is repudiated and renewed again with a more democratic focus on people.

The powerful, those who built and have been fabulously rewarded by the current system, will oppose any threat to their exorbitant privilege, which they see as perfectly equitable and justified and fully well-deserved, with all the wiles and power moves that they can deploy, even against their own.

This growing dichotomy, this gulf between appearance and reality, will not only strain the social fabric, but historically is the kind of human dynamic that can light a fire in hearts and minds, despite increasingly desperate attempts to discredit, suppress, and then extinguish it.