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Pro-Trump campaign signs damaged and vandalized in Woodland Park. Members of the Teller County Republican Central Committee set up pro-Trump signs in high-traffic areas in Teller County. The signs were broken, ripped down or painted with obscenities and vulgarities. (Chancey Bush/ The Gazette)

Once upon a time, the Democratic Party tried to favor the working class. Not anymore, and never has it been more apparent.

Consider Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s immediate goals.

He wants to:

• Increase taxes. All taxes are regressive and impose the most harm on those who have the least.

• Impose a minimum wage that puts entry-level fast-food workers on par with young mechanics, EMTs and others who have sacrificed to make skilled-labor wages.

• Save the planet from climate change with policies that jeopardize mining, drilling and agricultural jobs.

• Redirect funding away from traditional law enforcement, an upper-level segment of the working-class demographic.

• Cozy up to China, a country that steals American jobs and technology.

• Allow a massive influx of immigrants to compete for American jobs.

• Increase regulations that suppress the gig economy, wage growth and investments in new jobs.

With Biden’s election, President Donald Trump’s “America first” doctrine is out the window, along with policies that had the middle-class, working-class and all ethnic minority groups flourishing economically. Trump likes and relates to working-class America, as evidenced by those who attended his rallies and voted for him.

In the 2020 election, as in 2016, Trump won among working Americans without college educations. These are typically small-business entrepreneurs, construction workers, laborers, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, welders, first responders, truck drivers and others who drive for a living. Some of these workers have impressive higher educations. Most do not.

Chat with Uber drivers in any large city, of any ethnicity or national origin, and nearly all support Trump — regardless of their educational backgrounds. That is, at least partly, because Democrats want to reclassify gig-economy workers as employees whom they can more easily regulate and tax. It threatens to erase the appeal of jobs in which people download apps and work for themselves, on their own terms, with flexibility previously unavailable to the working class.

Time will reveal the objective truth, but it seems safe to predict the working class will be worse off after four years of traditional Democrats running the government’s executive branch.

One Biden goal smacks of contempt for the working class: Student loan forgiveness.

Biden ran on a pledge to forgive at least $10,000 for every borrower. It is part of an education plan financial analysts estimate will cost taxpayers $2 trillion. It helps explain Biden’s strong support among college-educated voters. He will save them $10,000 in debt.

Aside from the obvious federal fiscal ramifications, there is an enormous problem with student loan forgiveness. It passes white-collar debts onto entrepreneurs, construction workers, laborers, plumbers, electricians, welders and more — many of whom succeeded without college debt.

Additionally, it makes a mockery of those who delayed the gratification of buying homes and new cars while sweating their loan repayments until they were paid in full.

Tens of millions of Americans have chosen and will choose career paths that do not require the traditional higher education path few can afford without accruing federally backed student loans. Nearly all of them contemplated the burden of debt when choosing to forgo college. They are neither superior nor inferior to their friends and neighbors who owe on student loans. They merely chose a less-expensive option.

Nothing will exacerbate class hostility like making blue-collar workers pay even more for the educations of their white-collar peers.

There is a reason working-class Americans pack Trump rallies and chant “we love you.” Tax cuts and massive reductions in regulations quickly improved their lives. Reversing those policies will quite likely harm them.

In these times of cultural division, Biden should reassess his plans and work to avoid the mere appearance of a war on the working class.

The Gazette Editorial board