The Green New Deal: The left’s phony attempt to co-opt Trump’s labor populism

2/28/2019, 2 p.m.
The florid Green New Deal proposed by the newly elected congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has been widely panned by critics on ...
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Twitter photo

The florid Green New Deal proposed by the newly elected congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has been widely panned by critics on both the right and the left—but perhaps most notably by Democratic Senate Minority Leader Dianne Feinstein. What many critics of the deal fail to note, however, is that the supposed New Deal is the Democrats’ most recent attempt to co-opt President Donald Trump’s populist agenda.

The Green New Deal seeks to achieve on paper what the laws of both physics and economics would not allow in practice: it is attempting to appeal to the strength of the American worker while at the same time discouraging American industrialism. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the not-so-green origins of this stale, almost comical idea.

Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” has been a wildly powerful rallying cry for his largely blue collar, rust-belt base. For them, it stands for secure borders, unfettered enterprise and fair trade. The first part, securing the borders, has become bogged down in a fight over the humane treatment of illegal immigrants, especially in the wake of Trump’s disastrous child separation practices. However, what is rarely discussed is the reason why Trump is focusing on the issue of overland illegal immigration. The primary reason Trump sees immigration as a winning populist message is that cheap, undocumented immigrant labor has been undercutting the American worker in key industries, including agriculture and construction. Furthermore, minorities, who the Democrats claim to love so much, are disproportionately hurt by the wage-suppressing effect of undocumented labor.

The thing is—Democrats, although they pretend otherwise, clearly know this. They know that the rust-belt counties across Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia that voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2008 and 2012, also voted overwhelmingly for President Trump in 2016. This singular fact shows that it is not Trump’s allegedly bigoted rhetoric that attracted these voters—most of whom helped elect America’s first Black President just eight years prior to Trump’s election—but in fact Trump’s promise to restore prosperity to their dying industrial towns.

Although in their heart-of-hearts Democrats know that economic factors drove traditionally Democratic Party voters to elect Trump, they do not have a plan of their own to restore economic prosperity to wide swaths of the U.S. population. Rather, they do have a plan, but it is not a new one. The Dems’ plan is what it has always been—the Robin Hood strategy. That is, they want to steal from the rich and give to the poor. That’s why the Green New Deal is based almost entirely on cost shifting, taxation and wealth redistribution rather than job creation and sound industrial policy.

And here’s the proof: Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez celebrated, as a “victory,” her successful attempt to prevent Amazon from building its new headquarters and flagship distribution center in New York City. Let that sink in for a minute. Democrats are celebrating the fact that their constituents would not be the recipients of a major job boom in a community that desperately needs jobs. Amazon was guaranteeing New York 25,000 jobs upfront and up to 50,000 jobs over the next two decades, not to mention more than $27 billion in state government tax revenues. New York Gov. Cuomo, who knew just how beneficial Amazon’s proposed headquarters would be for the state, made the highly unusual move of openly criticizing Democrats in the New York state legislature who killed the deal. The three-term governor called the plan’s demise “the greatest tragedy that I have seen since I have been in government.”