The large-scale problem in American politics since the ascension of Reagan has been the collapse of the liberal opposition to the conservative Republican Party. That opposition was most effective when New Deal Liberalism and the Labor Movement reinforced one another for the decades between WWII and the late 1970s.
Whether dominated by an extreme right-wing faction, as now, or led by moderates, the Republican Party has been the corporate party since the era of the Robber Barrons. GOP greed — it’s narrow identity as the corporate party — has been a constant for more than the last century. That’s been generally understood (except by the faction Thomas Frank wrote about in his “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” … those who have bought into the GOP’s eternally unfulfilled promise of “solving” abortion, gay marriage and various other social-conservative issues).
With GOP greed as a constant, our democratic system clunked along more or less successfully under the regimen of the New Deal financial kluges (regulations), until the liberal opposition began to capitulate under Carter, then in earnest under Reagan.
The hope and the promise of the current labor pushback in GOP-governed states is that the liberal opposition may be reinvigorated.
The danger is that it won’t, and the plutocracy will then preside over the last days of the American Empire.