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Victor Davis Hanson: California’s War on the Working Class

In an interview on Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Daily, historian Victor Davis Hanson spoke about the decline of his native California and the increasing distance between the Democrat and Republican elites and average, middle-class Americans.

Hanson is a columnist, former classics professor, scholar of ancient warfare, and the author of numerous books on history and politics, including his newest The Decline and Fall of California: From Decadence to Destruction.

Host and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon asked Hanson about the decline of California and how the political elites have sold out the state, while they immunized themselves from the devastation.

“They love high-speed rail but they just don’t want to build it,” Hanson said of California’s elite. “They love open borders, but they put their kids in prep schools so they’re not impacted by non-English speakers. They love letting all of our precious irrigation water go out to the ocean, taking it away from farmers, but they don’t dare touch the Hetch Hetchy water that comes to the Bay Area.”

Hanson further elaborated on the change that has taken place in California, especially in the Democratic Party—which is completely dominant in the population centers of coastal Bay Area and Los Angeles.

“The Democratic Party is no longer the party of Harry Truman and the working class. Once they had equality of opportunity enshrined; they went for equality of result and that caused them problems,” Hanson said.

Bannon spoke about how Hanson was able to reach some of the Hispanic and working class students in his classes about the classics—such as Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War. Bannon said, “Many of these kids were from Hispanic backgrounds or working-class backgrounds, but it’s not that they couldn’t understand the classics, they could if you reach out to them.”

Hanson explained that if there was one group in California and American politics that could reach out to people of Hispanic and working class backgrounds, “it’s more likely to come from the grassroots of the Republican Party, the Tea Party. The Republican establishment shares the same values, personal values, cultural values as the Democratic elite.”

Though the Democrat elites romanticize the poor, they have little to no connection with them and do not understand their lives, according to Hanson. Grassroots conservatives have an easier time relating to Hispanics and the working class because they work with them and talk to them on a daily basis.

“The Republican Party, at least the Tea Party, they work shoulder to shoulder with people, and that’s the big key,” Hanson said. “If you’re a minority kid in the inner city you really don’t like some guy like Rahm Emmanuel or Hillary Clinton who flies in and patronizes you. You like the local guy at the 7-11 who will actually deal with you. And people want to be dealt with on an individual, personal basis.”

Hanson said:

Who is the guy that Obama hates the most? It’s the upper middle-class, middle-class guy who’s got a Winnebago and he’s trying to save up for an SUV. All those things don’t fit the cultural elite’s idea of taste. In their way of thinking they’ve romanticized the poor because they’re distant, and they have enough money to satisfy their own cultural benchmarks, but they hate the middle class because the middle class doesn’t have the romance of the poor and doesn’t have the money to go to the Ivy League or go to Malibu.

Ultimately, the memes of the Democratic Party have the internal political conflicts in America all wrong, according to Hanson. Though they tout the conflicts between races, genders, and all other aspects of American society, they miss what the real divide is in the country.

“That’s what this war is about basically. It’s not really a race war, it’s not a gender war, it’s not a war on women. It’s a war on people in the middle who the Democratic Party is losing and lost and the Republican elite is losing,” Hanson said.

Hear the full interview below:

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