Unlike workers with steady pay and benefits, those in the precariat — many of them young, lacking good prospects and often socialistically minded — have little to protect. Whether they work for McDonald’s or Uber, they lack health insurance, company backing for further education or any influence on corporate decision-making. A policy agenda of “Medicare for all”, cancelled student debts and forcing companies to put workers could have considerable appeal to such voters.
Which party wins the working class in 2020?
Appealing to the precariat, however, also poses a challenge to the democratic establishment, many of whom, including several top Obama aides, work at firms such as Uber and Lyft . Some of these notional progressives consider what they call the “sharing” economy as “democratizing capitalism” by returning control of the working day to the individual. Yet for most gig workers there’s not very much democratic or satisfying.
The new working class activism also may move to drive the party further, even disastrously, to the left. Some labor activists such as Chicago’s teacher union leaders recently traveled to Venezuela’s disastrous leftist regime, and expressed their admiration and solidarity. This is not a good role model to sell to the electorate.