Billy Joel Explains the Election

What explains the partial collapse of the Democratic Party in the industrial Midwest? Billy Joel, in Allentown, caught the moment decades before it happened...the last time the economy in Pennsylvania transitioned away from coal and steel.  Educated, hard-working people. The generational tension. The sense that the next generation will be worse of than the current one.  The lack of an economic foundation. The sense that they've been abandoned by the powers that be. (The union people went awaaaaay)....  So long as this state of affairs persists, the entire stretch of land, from Indiana to Pennsylvania, will be competitive nationally.

So the graduations hang on the wall
But they never really helped us at all
No they never taught us what was real
Iron or coke,
Chromium steel.

Every child had a pretty good shot
To get at least as far as their old man got.
If something happened on the way to that place
They threw an American flag in our face, oh oh oh.

Well I'm living here in Allentown
And it's hard to keep a good man down.
But I won't be getting up todaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy
aaaaaaaaaaah aaaaaaaaaaah aaaaaaaaah.

Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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