Edward Luce ‘diagnoses’ the political failure of the New Democrats !

Political Cynic comments.

The first two paragraphs of Mr. Luce essay read like the political analysis provided by David Brooks, at The New York Times, with, of course, that Oxbridger undergraduate attempt at humor, stepped in disdain. Brooks describes a political landscape, and its signposts, that reads as almost familiar, but are either out of focus or eerily transmogrified!

The skill at which Donald Trump excels is creating a master narrative and ensuring every American hears it — no consultants needed. That is what he did in 2016 and will try to repeat if he runs for president again. The first time was about draining the Washington swamp. Now it is about Democrats stealing elections. Had Trump put his 2016 horse through an advisory committee, it would have come out as a camel. But he stuck to his own counsel.

The key to Trump’s unlikely success, which Democrats seem predisposed to miss, is to speak plainly to as wide a group of Americans as possible at the same time, even when the product is nihilism. It is the opposite of the microtargeting that Democratic consultants so love. This is an irony, since Democrats claim to represent “the people”. Fighting for ordinary Americans is a far harder sell when your marketing is tailored to so many different ones.

Trump didn’t offer a ‘Master Narrative’, but offered the voter the reflective rage, against a whole Political Class, whose advocacy and practice of the Neo-Liberal Swindle, over almost a generation, that destroyed both the working class and the middle class in America- Mr. Luce is incapable of even an approach to that revelation, it is beyond his ken! A former speech writer and now Boswell to Larry Summers …

If one is to scold the New Democrats for the Trump win 2016 , look to the infamous comment, by New Democrat Queen Bee Hillary Clinton’s ‘basket of deplorables’ as an exercise in starkly ugly classism. After all Hillary was a ‘Goldwater Girl’ in 1964. That ‘deplorables’ catch phrase became the mantra for the rest of the Party. Hillary and The New Democrats were the standard bearers, of that collapsed Neo-Liberalism. As were the Republican Party establishment, that were in a panic of the outsider capturing the Party apparatus, by a self-financed campaign for President.

Here Mr. Luce offers an evaluation of Biden’s ‘build back better’ as not just a question of ‘messaging’ :

The problem is not just with the messaging. The packaging also warps the content. Biden’s “build back better” plan ought to have been a triumph of popular measures — lower drug prices, paid leave, better childcare and higher taxes on the rich. Once it got into the hands of congressional Democrats, however, it descended into a tangled mess of competing interests. When everyone is a priority, nobody is.

Skipping through Mr. Luce’s thickets of political analysis, in which he quotes the Harold Stassen of the political present Andrew Yang:

As Andrew Yang, the former Democratic presidential candidate, said last week: “A lot of Americans are just sick of this compartmentalised approach to politics that’s driven by consultants and . . . they see through it. They think it’s bullshit.” 

Not quite satisfied with the above quote from Yang, Luce resorts to Upton Sinclair:

America’s political-industrial complex deserves the criticism it gets. But few Democratic strategists seem open to change. As Upton Sinclair, the great radical, said: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

How predictable is Mr. Luce’s critique of the ‘political-industrial complex’ ? He is a member in good standing of this ‘complex’ of Political Experts- yet a possible self-criticism does not occur to him as an imperative!

Political Cynic


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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