Thomas B. Edsall diagnoses the trouble with The New Democrats, in The New York Times of November 18, 2020 . Old Socialist comments

Mr. Edsall’s opening sentence: ‘The Democratic Party is struggling with internal contradictions, as its mixed performance on Election Day makes clear.’

It doesn’t dawn on this writer, that the ‘internal contradictions’ facing the Democrats is about a conflict between the New Democrats, Neo-Liberals, and a resurgent New Deal Democrats, following the 2008 Financial Collapse. Not to mention the rise and destruction of ‘Occupy Wall Street’ by Bloomberg and Obama. Or the rise of Piketty, as, perhaps, its intellectual contemporary ? The next sentence should not surprise:

Analysts and insiders are already talking ­— sometimes in apocalyptic terms — about how hard it will be for Joe Biden to hold together the coalition that elected him as the 46th president. 

Mr. Edsall frames his comments via the opinions of these ‘anaysists and insiders’. And quite impressive they are! Call these political actors, what they are ‘Technocrats’ as is Mr. Edsall. But his cast of players is epic, like Cecil B. De Mille’s cinematic hyperbole.

Jonathan Rodden, a political scientist at Stanford 

Julie Wronski, a political scientist at the University of Mississippi,

A Democratic operative with experience working on elections from the presidency on down

Abigail Spanberger, who represents the 7th Congressional District in Virginia

Representative Rashida Tlaib

Tom Emmer, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee,

Marc Farinella — a frequent adviser to Democratic campaigns

Dane Strother, a Democratic consultant

Bruce Cain, a political scientist at Stanford

Bernard Grofman, a political scientist at the University of California-Irvine

Darren Kew, a professor in the University of Massachusetts-Boston Department of Conflict Resolution

 New Deal StrategiesJustice DemocratsSunrise Movement and Data for Progress

Michael Podhorzer, senior adviser to Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO

Eitan Hersh, a political scientist at Tufts

Dani Rodrik, a Harvard economist

With all the rhetorical ballast, not to speak of a rampant appeal to authority, Edsall ends with well worn political cliches, in these two paragraphs:

It is the very determination of each of these blocs to place a priority on its own agenda that casts doubt on the ability of the Democratic Party to unite in support of the kind of economic platform Rodrik describes, a step that would require the subordination of narrower interests in favor of the party’s collective interest. Unfortunately, this demand for a willingness to sacrifice or compromise factional interests comes at a time when there has been a steady erosion of a national commitment to collective responsibility.

In a way, this is yet another tragic legacy of the Trump administration. Liberal advocacy groups have become more in-your-face, more intense, partly in reaction to the intransigence of the Trump regime, a development that is in turn irrevocably linked to the intensity of the conflicts across the country and within the Democratic Party itself.

The fact that Neo-Liberalism, in America, from Ronald Reagan to the political present is ignored. The ‘as if’ here is that the economic collapse of 2008 was, somehow, not about the very failure of that Economic/Political Mirage of the Free Market. That was to be the beginning of a New Age of prosperity, much like the post-war boom, and its twin the Cold War, and a Defense Industry that fueled that prosperity.

It was the Clintons and Joe Biden, the New Democrats, whose:  ‘The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996’ , the 1994 ‘Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act’ and  GrammLeachBliley Act (GLBA), the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. These laws Reagan could not enact , but the Clintons and their ally Joe Biden did, with catestprohic effect.

Mr. Edsall wan attempt to diagnose the state of the Democratic Party’s ‘internal contradictions’, fails to confront the betrayal that the Clintons and Joe Biden are to that New Deal Tradition!

Old Socialist  

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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