2022 in a nutshell: Student loan debt – the GOP blind spot which exposed the party’s hypocrisy

The GOP has recently taken to fancying itself as a party of anti-elitism that appeals to the working class. This reversal of history is tinged with irony, and got blown-wide open as hypocritical thanks to one huge pet issue of progressives – student loan forgiveness and debt.

Since Donald Trump was nominated for the Presidency in 2016, the GOP began a gradual shift away from ideological conservatism toward progressive/populism, first rhetorically and then in action, as the likes of Trump and Governor DeSantis expanded the scope and scale of government, albeit in a way designed to directly benefit the new constituency they were seeking – voters who were working class, irrespective of race (this bit of analysis admittedly is where a lot of liberals stop reading and start bitching, but it’s true. The GOP has aggressively sought to bring Latinos and African-American men into their camp) and had grievances against “elites” and the media.

But this past year, the student loan and debt exposed the GOP more than any other. When President Biden announced his loan forgiveness Executive Order in August, I naively thought the GOP would just avoid the issue. But they did not – they not only took the bait, they outdid themselves trying to play populist while nakedly revealing they are donor class controlled.

A freak-out of epic proportions characterizes the GOP’s reaction to Biden’s plan. Claiming it was “elitist,” to try and help aspirational working class types who took out student loans, the GOP proved they’re not a party that promotes upward mobility, the American dream or the ordinary citizens when they clash with lending institutions/banks. So what the GOP clearly did was side with bankers over ordinary Americans – the lender over the victim of loan sharks, etc. This completely exposed the GOP’s game of playing progressive/populist as just that – a game, a sham.

While much of the focus on the GOP’s historically bad midterm performance for a party out of power (yes, they won the US House, barely, but the Senate and Governor’s race performances were the worst by an “out” party in a first midterm election of a Presidential term since the Great Depression/New Deal midterm of 1934!), has fallen on abortion and democracy, the GOP’s attitude on student loans, in my opinion, (lots of anecdotal evidence on this I have uncovered) probably tipped the scales for many voters on-the-fence or previously not even motivated to vote.

And even more than other matters, this issue exposed the rank hypocrisy of the GOP.

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