Wealthy heir to Bloomingdale’s chain sneers at populist voters who cherish “values and tradition”
In a column for Foreign Policy Magazine, Council on Foreign Relations member James Traub argues that the elite need to “rise up” against the “mindlessly angry” ignorant masses in order to prevent globalization from being derailed by the populist revolt that led to Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump.
Concerned that, “Today’s citizen revolt — in the United States, Britain, and Europe — may upend politics as nothing else has in my lifetime,” Traub notes that Brexit was an “utter repudiation of….bankers and economists” and an example of how “extremism has gone mainstream”.
Citing the potential for Trump to split the Republican Party even if he loses and the increasing unpopularity of France’s socialist government, Traub argues that establishment political parties in major western countries must “combine forces to keep out the nationalists”.
“With prospects of flat growth in Europe and minimal income growth in the United States, voters are rebelling against their dismal long-term prospects,” writes Traub. “And globalization means culture as well as economics: Older people whose familiar world is vanishing beneath a welter of foreign tongues and multicultural celebrations are waving their fists at cosmopolitan elites.”
Traub’s tone is so contemptuous, he even describes the pro-Trump Republican base as “know nothing” voters and sneers at voters in Poland for being concerned about “values and tradition,” while stressing that the push for further globalization will pit “poor and non-white and marginal citizens” against “working-class and middle-class whites,” whom he describes as angry “fist-shakers”.
Traub admits that his outlook is “elitist” but that, “It is necessary to say that people are deluded and that the task of leadership is to un-delude them.”
Reaction to the article was piercingly vitriolic, with one respondent commenting, “If you’ve ever wondered what the conversations between aristocrats were like as the peasants were storming the Bastille, I suspect some of them were a lot like this Foreign Policy article.”
The piece is yet another stunning example of how disconnected elites are to the people whom they insult and wish to rule over.
Traub, a Harvard graduate from a super-wealthy family that owns the Bloomingdale’s chain of luxury department stores, has no idea whatsoever how things like mass uncontrolled immigration, deindustrialization and globalization impact ordinary working westerners.
His sneering pomposity is precisely why many Brits voted for Brexit and why many Americans will vote for Donald Trump.
In refusing to listen to or understand the concerns of hundreds of millions of people who have been disenfranchised by globalism, and instead arrogantly doubling down on his chutzpah, Traub is only ensuring that more people will join the populist revolt that led to Brexit in the first place.