Salena Zito’s column highlights blue collar America’s crisis perfectly:

A tugboat pushing nine loaded coal barges chugged up the Ohio River, toward the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. It eventually passed the McConway & Torley steel foundry along the Allegheny, likely headed for one of the few coal-fired power plants left in America.

That was what Democrats believed in then when they cared about America. The Democratic Party was built in manufacturing cities like Pittsburgh. Isn’t it symbolic that Pittsburgh’s steel-producing decline coincides with the Democratic Party’s decline as the party of the middle class?

Workers in the coal industry and at McConway & Torley are in the cross hairs of the progressive left. The left rails against McDonald’s for not paying a salary that sustains a family of four, as it simultaneously tries to snuff out the manufacturing base that provides well-paid middle-class jobs.

McConway & Torley has been in Pittsburgh for nearly 150 years. It is one of the few places in the city where laborers can earn enough to stay out of poverty, own a home and provide security for their families’ futures.

The Totalitarian Left worships at the altar of controlling people’s lives. They’ll do anything that forces their religion down blue collar America’s throat. If you think religion isn’t the right word for that situation, think again. Here’s the definition of religion:

the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices

The Totalitarian Left worships uniformity and a one-size-fits-all worldview. Meanwhile, Americans are demanding an iPhone-iPad world. The EPA’s proposed new rule to the Clean Water Act won’t make America more productive. The EPA’s proposed new rule will attempt to tell a free people what they can’t do. That’s totalitarianism by any definition. It certainly fits this definition:

the character or quality of an autocratic or authoritarian individual, group, or government

When I started paying attention to politics, liberals used the judiciary to get their way when they couldn’t pass the legislation they wanted. That changed when President Reagan started appointing more Constitution-minded judges. The Totalitarian Left found that they couldn’t rely on the judiciary for their victories like they had in the past.

That wasn’t acceptable to the Activist Left. Their policies weren’t popular, which meant they couldn’t pass their extremist agenda. With more Constitution-minded judges, they weren’t winning legal victories, either. Which leads us to today. The Totalitarian Left has now opted for ruling through regulators. It’s really their only option at this point.

You see, on the same night that the city hosted a conference with Nordic countries about “social sustainability” (talking to each other), “urban fabric” (city living) and “carbon footprint transference” (walking), the health department held a public hearing in the once working-class, now upwardly-mobile neighborhood where the foundry sits.

That hearing was about a plan to reduce the foundry’s steel production by 77 percent. And that would take away the one thing everyone says they want to create through manufacturing — middle-class jobs.

The plant’s opponents basically want the foundry out of Pittsburgh, a city once known for a skilled labor force that “made stuff.”

It is an aggressive effort by GASP (Group Against Smog and Pollution), funded by the Heinz Endowments to the tune of $350,000 in 2014, the same foundation funding the city’s conference with Nordic countries that local Democrat leaders hailed as the direction the region should go.

I’d love seeing a populist uprising against the Totalitarian Left. The Democratic Party of the 1950s had a strong libertarian streak to it. That Democratic Party loved building things. They, along with astute Republicans, built the interstate highway system.

Today’s Democratic Party worships at the altar of light rail, Cap and Trade and partial regulatory takings. That isn’t Americanism. That’s warmed over Europeanism, which is an unsavory broth.

It’s time for the Reagan Democrats to join the Republican Party, not because the GOP is a fantastic party without flaws, but because the Totalitarian Left isn’t, shouldn’t be their home. Reagan Democrats have as much in common with the Totalitarian Left as oil has with water.

Those ingredients don’t fit together.

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