Political Consumers: #Trump2016 is essential

According to David Riesman, the middle class is coming to consist more and more of “political consumers.” They tend to consume what is given to them in politics rather than help to produce the product. Their political participation is confined, by and large, to voting in the more publicized elections. It is true that the middle class of the burgeoning suburbs votes with gusto in the big quadrennial elections: The percentage turnouts in the belts around our great cities are almost British in their proportions. Yet the vote, it should not be necessary to say, is the barest minimum of political participation, and apart from the presidential contests-staged, staffed, and directed, it may be said, by people other than themselves-the middle class leaves itself out of political activity. It looks upon politics as news to be consumed, a drama to be watched. It has none of the sense of political commitment which was second nature to the middle class of previous generations.


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