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Trump's greatest legacy: The GOP now represents America's workers

Trump's greatest legacy: The GOP now represents America's workers
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Joe BidenJoe BidenIntercept bureau chief: minimum wage was not 'high priority' for Biden in COVID-19 relief South Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Obama alum Seth Harris to serve as Biden labor adviser: report MORE is now president, and Democrats are in charge. Here’s big news: This is not your grandfather’s Democratic Party.

The most important and least acknowledged part of President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE’s legacy is that he has presided over a fundamental realignment of our two great political parties. Had Trump won another four years in the Oval Office, the shift would have been more visible and the impact on the country even more profound.

During the past four years, Trump’s Republican Party has emerged as the champion of American working men and women, veterans and small business, while the Democratic Party has become the mouthpiece of Big Tech, Big Business and the liberal elites who run California, New York and other blue states.

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Over the next four years, these five issues will reveal this resetting of Democratic priorities:  

  • Watch to see if Democrats push to rein in Big Tech, either through anti-trust cases, by breaking up the largest firms or by revoking Section 230, as Biden has said he will do.
  • Keep tabs on tax policy. Democrats have said they will raise taxes on big corporations; will they follow through? And will they reward their generous backers on Wall Street by continuing to ignore the “carried interest” loophole, which mysteriously survives every effort at tax reform? 
  • Follow Biden as he waters down Trump’s tough stance against China’s unfair trade policies and theft of intellectual property. Big Business wants to reset our relationship with Beijing, to keep shipping jobs overseas and to access the world’s fastest-growing consumer market; Biden will want to please his new-found partners.
  • Will the looser immigration rules proposed by Biden drive down wages for lower-income Americans? That’s what has happened before. Democrats may also reverse recent White House efforts to trim the number of skilled workers admitted under the H-1B visa program, which reduced pay for tech workers as well. 

How these five issues play out will reveal the new alliances in the Democratic Party.

To start, there is no question that Biden “owes” Big Tech. Facebook, Twitter and Google made hefty contributions to the Biden campaign and, more importantly, suppressed negative stories about Biden while also censoring Trump supporters.  

Google PACs and employees gave a staggering $3.6 million to Biden. Another $4.4 million went to the Democratic National Committee and Future Forward USA, a Democrat-aligned Super-Pac. Microsoft and its employees donated $17 million to Democratic candidates. Amazon gave $8.9 million; Facebook threw in $5 million and on and on. Overall, some 85 percent – 90 percent of Big Tech donations went to Democrats. 

Not only did Big Tech supply the Biden campaign with money; they also offered protection. Twitter, Facebook and Google prevented dissemination of the-well documented and disturbing story about Hunter Biden’s shady business dealings in Ukraine and China, where he apparently traded on his father’s name and position. Most concerning was an email chain which indicated that Joe Biden himself was aware of at least one deal, which he has long denied.

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That voters were largely kept in the dark about the Biden family opportunism (at best) was an unconscionable abuse of Big Tech’s power. Their autocratic curating of the news has become only more abhorrent since. They have not only shut down potential rival platform Parler but also permanently banned Trump from their platforms. 

Democrats will likely reward this loyalty by slow-walking any curtailment of Big Tech’s power. Their legislative calendar will be too crowded to address Google’s monopoly or the unfair advantage conferred by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Watch and see.

In November, Big Business and Wall Street also heavily backed Biden and his fellow Democrats. Most surprising, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a lobbying group for America’s biggest corporations and historically a close GOP ally, supported 30 vulnerable Democrats seeking congressional seats.

Why would big companies shift their support to Democrats? Because Donald Trump’s confrontation with China disrupted their supply chains and cost them money. Also, Trump’s tough stance on immigration included efforts to reduce the number of H1-B visas available for skilled workers; most recently the White House had announced new rules which would have mandated higher wages for H1-B recipients. Big Business was not pleased.   

Increased immigration, while a long-term plus for the nation overall, in the short run lowers wages for the domestic population. Biden’s ambitious plan to grant legal status to the 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally may go nowhere, like similar efforts in the past. But his team’s more tolerant approach will doubtless spur another round of in-migration, pushing down wages.

Biden will argue that raising the national minimum wage to $15 per hour will compensate those at the low end of the income spectrum. More likely, it will destroy jobs at the hundreds of thousands of small businesses already struggling to survive the pandemic.

Low-earning Americans will also feel the brunt of higher costs stemming from “green” policies like those adopted by California, where people pay over 50 percent more than residents in other states for electricity. Californians also spend 40 percent more for every gallon of gasoline than folks elsewhere. That doesn’t hurt the elites driving energy policy; it sure hurts the working class.

Millions of blue-collar workers abandoned the Democratic Party in 2016, leading to Trump’s win. In 2020, Hispanics and African Americans voted for Donald Trump in higher numbers than expected. These groups are beginning to figure out which party represents their interests: Trump’s GOP.

Liz Peek is a former partner of major bracket Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. Follow her on Twitter @lizpeek.