There was a spike in working class representation for a few decades after the Second World War, but since the end of the 1970's, that representation has declined and we are now back to where we were when the robber barons ran things. In the wake of this, income inequality has turned into a gulf and working class wages have plummeted.
Of course, America no longer has political debates that center around economic class. That would be "class warfare" and we wouldn't want to be accused of that, would we? Instead, the Establishment and its mainstream media stoke culture wars based on who you have sex with and race wars proclaiming that one group's lives matter more than the rest. Why? Because it takes the 99 percenters' focus away from what really matters: jobs, taxes, crony capitalism, poverty, hunger, homelessness, education, debt, honest government, and the lack of democracy.
Not so long ago, the Labor movement was at the center of Western culture. In post-WWII America, Labor built the broad middle class -- negotiating a private safety net of secure employment and a growing, living wage, that turned paycheck-to-paycheck workers into consumers with disposable income. The rise of identity politics saw that smashed to pieces -- with wages driven down and credit card debt replacing disposable income.
Does who we elect matter? Would the election of more blue-collar workers arrest the death spiral of America's working class? Or would the juvenile narcissism of identity politics -- fueled by billionaires' checkbooks -- continue to crowd out any broad-based relief for the poor and oppressed?
Duke University's Nick Carnes has studied some of these issues. His book, White-Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policy Making, should be read by every policy maker in America. You can buy the book here: