Thursday, December 22, 2016

Post-election Readings on Why Dems Lost - or are they in denial due to popular vote?

The progressive populism of Bernie Sanders nearly toppled the establishment of the Democratic party but Clinton and Obama came to the rescue to preserve the status quo. And I do believe Sanders would have beat Trump to avert this neofascist outcome!... Cornel West
 My research suggests that Rust Belt populism is rooted in the region’s loss of locally owned industry — not simply because of economics but because of how that loss hollowed out the community structure that once connected people to politics, leaving residents alienated and resentful..... Josh Pacewicz, WAPO
A couple of post-election pieces for your reading pleasure that beat up the Democrats. I may do follow-ups on some of them in more detail. I'm interested in the intersection of class and identity politics - how to walk that line without abandoning either.

I posted some pieces about Bernie Sanders on the issue and how the Hillary wing of the party distorted what he was saying:
I believe the struggle between the Hillary and Bernie wings continue to this day.

MORE is holding a discussion around the election in mid-January. ICE also had a discussion a few weeks ago that was informative.

I'm not agreeing with all points raised, just putting this stuff out there for discussions trying to assess "wha' happen?" I particularly liked the WAPO piece because it analyzes how the Dems lost the working class -- and links that to the decline of unions. Which makes sense. The right have understood that by killing or weakening unions it could break their unity and ties to the Dems. This was the plan since Reagan -- the the outcome has been economic disaster for the middle class -- wages has have been stagnant since the early to mid-80s -- DUHHH! Reaganomics and the right wing assault. For educators, the phony Nation at Risk Reagan commissioned to go after education was the opening shot. That our major union leader Albert Shanker signed onto this report was the beginning of the end of our ability as teachers to fight back. Randi only continued Shanker's capitulation to ed deform.

An interesting piece from the Washington Post.

Here’s the real reason Rust Belt cities and towns voted for Trump

2. The Nation:

 What Is the Left Without Identity Politics?

Four writers consider the question dividing the Democratic Party.

By Walter Benn MichaelsCharles W. MillsLinda Hirshman and Carla Murphy

3. Liza Featherstone's interesting take at The Guardian

4. Cornel West: Goodbye, American neoliberalism. A new era is here


  1. Thanks for printing these. I read this at Politico, but the panelists were just talking past each other.

    As soon as I read this article I knew I belong with the Green Party. Maybe they won't become a player in politics in a big way, but they can be part of the movement of kindness and compassion for our neighbors that will help us get through this very difficult time.
    Also, I forget which article said this, but I also believe that all must chip in. As I've said before, I would gladly pay more in taxes so that we can all have good health insurance. United we stand, divided we fall.

  2. The Pasewicz article makes complete sense to me, that the economic upheavals of the last 15-20 years hollowed-out the entire social structure of former industrial regions, economically, politically and culturally. Some people were trying to get the attention of the elites because they understood the consequences of the upheaval, particularly the destruction of industrial unions.

    I don't believe that Democrats need to choose between "identity/race politics" and "class politics"--the answer, clearly, is both but that will require a lot more leadership, courage and subtlety than the DP has ever shown before to develop a message that does both.

    I have yet to hear, or read, from anyone actual things and policies that the DP or other party can promote. International trade isn't going to stop and if it did there are entire groups of other people, besides bankers and CEOs, who do benefit from being part of that flow of goods and services. If the response to the challenge is punitive rules and high tariffs--not likely to have any positive effect since every other country will adopt the same rules and trade wars, like the ones that ruined the world economy during the '30s, will break out. The factory jobs that folks want back probably aren't coming back, not because of trade agreements or currency manipulation (yes, part that) but because technology is advancing so rapidly that its cheaper and easier to build a car using robots or to hire an attorney in India to do legal research than to hire a para-legal at the local law firm.

    I read in American Prospect an article called "New Rules of the Road: A Progressive Approach to Globalization," which offers serious suggestions about how trade pacts can be negotiated and structured to benefit working class citizens in signatory members. All interesting stuff, but none of it has anything to do with the incoming administration, which isn't looking for ways to make trade more equitable. And, it will take someone like Sanders or Warren or whomever will inevitably rise during the next four years to make the case to people in broken communities that there is some active response that can be made to help them so that social justice and economic justice, both, can be obtained.

    That's why demagogues win--they don't have to make subtle or nuanced arguments. Perhaps folks on the left don't want to make them either, in which case I have nothing to add to the argument. If the left's program is to break up the banks and other stuff that is more easily reduced to slogans, I'm not sure that the white working class will respond to that message either.

    Who knows? All important issues. But, I'm no longer so interested in what the DP should or shouldn't do and more about what we're all going to do next month and year when the stuff hits the fan.


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