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Out Like Flynn

“Come at the king, you best not miss.” – Omar

President Trump came into office, promising:

From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.

It isn’t too hard to interpret his inaugural speech and his first flurry of appointments, executive orders and memoranda as an attack on the current regime, deep state, shadow government or whatever you want to call that combination of oligarchs, lobbyists, bureaucrats, media and spooks that run the government behind the scenes, and enjoys the lion’s share of the spoils.

Trump may think he is the king, but his close staff has to know that they are coming at the deep state, and can’t afford to look weak. Likewise, the deep state has to know that they aren’t going to get that many shots at Trump. They have one now, but is it good enough?

Trump lost in the courts, which may have been expected, but has had to ask Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, to resign, which he probably did not expect. Bill Moyers wants the government to investigate all Trump’s connections with Russia, as he writes in, We Must Know the Truth:

Why was nothing done until the media broke the story? And why did Trump lie? As the National Lampoon joked back during the Watergate era, rephrasing the crucial questions aimed at Richard Nixon: “What did the president know and when did he STOP knowing it?”

Is it possible Trump and Flynn had been talking all along and keeping it to themselves? Who authorized Flynn to speak with the Russian ambassador on Trump’s behalf in the first place? The president himself or chief strategist Steve Bannon? Or someone else? Was Flynn a lone gun? Who can tell with all the lies?

And another thing: if the White House has known what was going on for weeks, why was Flynn still attending intelligence briefings as late as Monday? …

Cenk Uygur thinks taking down Flynn is just a warning shot, and that it all boils down to that 500 billion dollar oil deal with Russia that was put on hold after Obama’s sanctions. Another theory is that Trump was forced to borrow from shady lenders with ties to Russia. In any case, the media is hitting the Russian connection hard, and we can expect to see Beck Bennett’s bare-chested Putin on SNL next weekend.

I ran across John Robb’s blog, Global Guerrilla, a few days ago. Robb is an Air Force Academy graduate, who has specialized in social networking and the future of warfare. “I spent last year working for the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff on his vision for how AGI (artificial general intelligence) and robotics would transform how the Joint Force fights in 2035.”

In a post called, Political Networking (how social networking is changing politics forever), Robb notes that Trump’s team leveraged what he calls an open source insurgency to win the election, but is having trouble adapting it to govern. The resistance (or what he calls the Orthodoxy) however, is well-positioned to attack Trump with it’s own open source insurgency, which:

  • arose out of the ashes of the political parties and is growing without any formal leadership.
  • is ALREADY firmly in control of nearly all public forums.
  • enforces opposition to Trump
  • uses social networking to exert pressure on people to accept the orthodox position (in this case: #resistance to Trump).
  • grows through peer pressure and disconnecting deviants from the network.  It doesn’t innovate.  It rejects, cajoles, and pillories.
  • is growing at an accelerated pace because Trump feeds the outrage that fuels it.

I can already see the peer pressure on Facebook and some blogs, but I also see it hardening support from Trump’s followers and increasing divisions between working and technocratic classes. Robb hopes for some sort of participatory network arising to overcome both sides, but believes we are actually prepping for a civil war.

Stumbling Through the Portal

When I was a kid, my mom, brother, sister and I watched a scifi B movie called The Time Travelers late one weekend night. Two university scientists, an assistant and a technician climb through an experimental time portal into a grim future, where the remnants of mankind are beset by starving, bald mutants who all wear the same ragged jumpsuits. The surviving humans have a fortified underground city where they are building androids and a space ship to escape an Earth devastated by atomic weapons. That wasn’t exactly an unusual premise for 1964. We loved it, especially the weird looped ending.

Comet TV showed that film a few weeks ago, followed by Beyond the Time Barrier, which was shot in ten days in 1959. In this grainy b&w flick, an Air Force pilot testing a sub-orbital jet somehow lands in a future where most humans are deaf-mutes hiding in a fortified underground citadel. They, too, are beset by angry, bald mutants, but in this case there had been a cosmic ray plague – resulting from nuclear weapons testing. My sister would have cried at the sad ending.

There’s a great scene near the beginning of The Time Travelers. The technician has stumbled through the portal, then unnaccountably runs out of sight behind some rocks. The two male scientists call out, and then go looking for him. The female assistant scares off two hostile mutants with a fire extinguisher (not too believable). Then she goes through to warn the scientists that the portal is unstable. As the three of them head back, the portal suddenly implodes, and the camera lingers on each of their stunned faces as they process what just happened. And it occurred to me that I and a lot of other people probably looked just like that while we were watching the election returns last November. Because we can’t go back, either. We have crossed into the future.

We’re also beset by angry hordes, some of them the working class in this country, and some the displaced immigrants from countries that we have reduced to failed states, and some displaced immigrants from areas dessicated by the changing climate. Some of us live in cities where everyone seems to be happy, and prosperous, and where they are building robots to take us to a new future. We’re not deaf-mute, but we might as well be because we don’t listen very well. Like the humans in both flicks, we just can’t understand why the hordes are so angry at us, and we can’t imagine reasoning with them. We haven’t gone underground, but we talk about closing borders, building walls, banning protests and running over demonstrators.

I sometimes think we’re the mutants.

Rebuilding the Left

In a piece on 3QuarksDaily, Thomas R. Wells asserts, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS NEOLIBERALISM AND IT IS DESTROYING THE LEFT:

Wells begins with, “The first problem is that there is no such thing as neoliberalism. It exists entirely as a critique by the left. … Nobody ever describes themselves as “neoliberal”. The phrase is only ever an accusation.”

That’s a relief because no one ever self-identifies as a racist or misogynist, either, so it is good to know that there is no such thing as racism or misogyny.

Going further, Wells claims that the term is a flexible straw man that means whatever the critic wants to attack. The American Heritage definition, though, is fairly concise:

ne·o·lib·er·al·ism (nē′ō-lĭb′ər-ə-lĭz′əm, -lĭb′rə-)
n.
A political theory of the late 1900s holding that personal liberty is maximized by limiting government interference in the operation of free markets.

And Encyclopaedia Brittanica’s description is fairly precise:

By the 1970s, however, economic stagnation and increasing public debt prompted some economists to advocate a return to classical liberalism, which in its revived form came to be known as neoliberalism. The intellectual foundations of that revival were primarily the work of the Austrian-born British economist Friedrich von Hayek, who argued that interventionist measures aimed at the redistribution of wealth lead inevitably to totalitarianism, and of the American economist Milton Friedman, who rejected government fiscal policy as a means of influencing the business cycle (see also monetarism). Their views were enthusiastically embraced by the major conservative political parties in Britain and the United States, which achieved power with the lengthy administrations of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1979–90) and U.S. Pres. Ronald Reagan (1981–89).

Neoliberal ideology and policies became increasingly influential, as illustrated by the British Labour Party’s official abandonment of its commitment to the “common ownership of the means of production” in 1995 and by the cautiously pragmatic policies of the Labour Party and the U.S. Democratic Party from the 1990s. As national economies became more interdependent in the new era of economic globalization, neoliberals also promoted free-trade policies and the free movement of international capital. …

I suspect that what Wells is actually concerned about is the replacement of neoliberal globalism, the status quo, which has benefited his class, with something else. He raises the spectre of Trumpism, but I don’t think left-wing critics are advocating that we succumb to the alt-right, anti-immigrant, anti-global fervor that is sweeping the First World. What critics are pointing out is that neoliberal, free-market policies have been applied to mostly benefit an upper class of what Thomas Frank calls technocrats, and what others call a meritocracy, while the people that do, “most of the working and paying and living and dying,” have been pushed into the arms of the alt-right. The people in the upper class are literally being paid to not believe that anything is wrong with the current incarnation of liberalism.

I don’t agree with pundits that are trying to foment anger against the upper class, but I don’t think the meritocracy is at all sustainable, either. Especially if we engage in denial. But deciding on the way forward will not be easy.

In that vein, I ran across this podcast by Debbie Lusignan, who posts on Youtube and Facebook as The Sane Progressive. She is a social media version of that passionate neighbor that buttonholes you about politics while you are trying to trim your hedges.

Lusignan cited Lee Camp’s interview of Nick Brana on RT’s Redacted Tonight. Brana served as national political outreach coordinator for the Bernie Sanders campaign, and was a founding member of Our Revolution  – very much an offshoot of that campaign. Brana and seven others left Our Revolution after the election of Jeff Weaver as its President. Brana was hoping to draft Bernie Sanders to lead his new People’s Party, which would be independent of, and a replacement for, the Democratic Party. Citing a Gallup poll, he claims that over 14 million people have left the Democratic Party to become Independents. Looking at that poll historically, however, it seems that the percentages of identification with Republicans, Independents or Democrats have fluctuated up and down for years without any significant trend. At the moment, Democrats are one percentage point lower than they had been going back to 2004, but in the leaning chart, they are behind only 44 % to 43 %.

Lusignan noted that Sanders had already refused to lead the Green Party, and predicted that he would also refuse this offer, which he did the next day. She also felt that Sanders is being used as a sort of post-election sheepdog – outreach manager – to attract young voters back to the Democratic fold. He wasn’t given any real power or positions in the party – those went to Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Donna Brazile – but they have him out there making speeches, debating with Cruz over the ACA, and endorsing establishment Dems like Schumer.

There will be a lot of this Judean People’s Front sort of thing going on in the liberal/progressive wing, and eventually one movement will shake itself out. The more we participate, the more likely that we will see the type of movement we want.

Deep Trump

In previous posts I have included some quotes about what an American Deep State might look like. Many thanks to Felicity for linking to DONALD J. TRUMP AND THE DEEP STATE by Peter Dale Scott on Who.What.Why. Part 1 is mostly about what constitutes the Deep State, and how at least two factions are in opposition:

… those who saw the election as a contest between outsider Trump and a “deep state” tended to give two different meanings to this new term. On the one hand were those who saw the deep state as “a conglomerate of insiders” incorporating all those, outside and inside the traditional state, who “run the country no matter who is in the White House…and without the consent of voters.”[8] On the other were those who, like Chris Hedges, limited the “deep state” to those perverting constitutional American politics from the margin of the Washington Beltway — “the security and surveillance apparatus, the war machine.”[9]

But both of these simplistic definitions, suitable for campaign rhetoric, omit the commanding role played by big money — what used to be referred to as Wall Street, but now includes an increasingly powerful number of maverick non-financial billionaires like the Koch brothers. All serious studies of the deep state, including Mike Lofgren’s The Deep State and Philip Giraldi’s Deep State America as well as this book, acknowledge the importance of big money.[10]

It is important to recognize moreover, that the current division between “red” and “blue” America is overshadowed by a corresponding division at the level of big money, one that contributed greatly to the ugliness of the 2016 campaign. In The American Deep State (p. 30), I mention, albeit very briefly, the opposition of right-wing oilmen and the John Birch Society “to the relative internationalism of Wall Street.”[11] That opposition has become more powerful, and better financed, than ever before.

It has also evolved. As I noted in The American Deep State, (p. 14), the deep state “is not a structure but a system, as difficult to define, but also as real and powerful, as a weather system.” A vigorous deep state, like America, encompasses dynamic processes continuously generating new forces within it like the Internet — just as a weather system is not fixed but changes from day to day.

In Part 2, Scott links the often-bankrupted Trump to lenders with ties to Russian financial interests, making a better case for Russian hacking of the recent election than I have seen elsewhere.

The existence of a Deep State is dispiriting, and makes me feel like a rat in a cage. It is one thing to talk about opposing conservatives, or electing progressives, but that seems like throwing rocks while the apparatchiks of the deep state are targeting drone strikes.

A Way Forward

During the recent presidential campaign, I noted that it was very obvious that the mainstream media (except Fox) and a good deal of the so-called new internet media were pulling for the multicultural globalist candidate. Even though having the media being so clearly in the bag for Clinton may have helped galvanize the support for Trump, it seems that the media are using much the same playbook to try to oppose the new regime. We see very funny skits on Saturday Night Live, impassioned awards speeches by celebrities, and sharp opinion pieces about the new administration. On the Sunday talk shows we see the same old news anchors and pundits that gave Trump free airtime during the campaign now trying to whip up an existential fear of his administration.

The same flimsy news sites that claimed Sanders would win over super-delegates, then that Stein would prove voter fraud, now offer up the false hope that Trump is just about to be impeached. Slightly more serious outlets claim that he is already failing and that our existing institutions will step up to stop him before he goes too far. So what are they waiting for?

The Democrats should be the first line of defense. But though they make some pretty speeches they haven’t, except for Gillibrand, shown the stomach for any serious opposition. Even if they did, they don’t really have the votes. Plus, they are still fighting over whether they are going to continue to be the party that attracts big donations from technocrats, or the party that could possibly attract young Sanders supporters.

In old black-and-white movies the people would be saved by the court system, but in our high-definition world, the Supreme Court will lean solidly conservative with my fellow GP alum Neil Gorsuch replacing Scalia. We’ve seen that attorneys-general can be fired, and that judges can be replaced. The Deep State has been cited, but many entrenched bureaucrats prefer to keep their jobs, and those that don’t are already being purged. Some articles even claim that the Republicans will eventually rein in Trump – though they’ve haven’t shown that ability so far.

No, if opposition doesn’t come from the people, it won’t happen. We’ve seen a lot of peaceful marching, but public protests also provide the stage for black bloc-type thugs to provide violent images for media. Unfortunately, violent opposition plays in to the hands of an alt-right that is already well-versed in violence, is well-armed (with all those guns that Obama was supposed to take away), and, according to the FBI, has infiltrated many local police departments.

Just marching will not be enough. A Counterpunch article, Class War, Yet? suggests an alternative, but it requires work and organization:

The way forward for progressives today, however, is becoming increasingly clear. A new book by George Lakey, co-founder of Earth Quaker Action Group, describes how such egalitarian societies have been formed in other developed countries. His book, “Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got It Right and How We Can, Too” traces the mostly peaceful revolutions of the 1920’s and 1930’s in several Nordic countries, and how much further they went then our own New Deal.

In Norway, for example, workers formed a new “oppositional” party, separate from the existing ones controlled by the oligarchs. The new party established its own newspapers as well since the oligarchs owned the media too. There were strikes and mass actions, but ultimately the workers’ party won by running on a platform that emphasized jobs for all, as well as universal healthcare, free education and pensions for retired workers, all paid for by significant tax increases on the very wealthy. There were no “poverty programs,” vulnerable to cutting by the oligarchy. Basic economic rights were established for each and every citizen, and it became the basis for the culture of the entire society, as well as the source of Nordic pride.

In a recent interview I did with George Lakey, he explained how Norwegian workers came to understand their plight. The majority of the people realized that they had been living in a “pretend democracy.” Even though they had a parliament, free elections and choice of their MP’s, “it was the economic elite that made the main decisions and directed the economy.”

The effect of educating the workers led to a necessary “polarization” of public opinion. The workers “finally understood that there was an economic elite running things and that it opposed what the people wanted, getting rid of poverty. But poverty is just fine for the elite; they are doing great. So we need to polarize, we need to understand that this is a we versus they situation.”

While that sounds good, I doubt that the Norwegians had nearly as fractured a society as we do. We have large groups of European, Hispanic and African ancestry and significant groups of Jews, Muslims, Asians, and Native Americans. It has been fairly easy for the oligarchs to keep us at each others’ throats.

A Silly Idea

Your revolution is a silly idea, yeah
All your friends are feeling sad

Hopes that Ivanka and Jared Kushner would be a moderating influence on President Trump seem to be fading as the machinations of adviser Steven Bannon dominate the news cycle. Anyone who is, is related to, or is friends with immigrants, persons of color, women using birth control and even sick people hoping to use medical marijuana has to be dismayed by the current direction of the Trump administration, in particular the latest Supreme Court nominee. Their hopes and dreams probably won’t stand for much under the new regime. And though Trump has extended an order banning discrimination against LGBTQ federal workers, that community is not very reassured.

An article, rebuttal and reply in Dissent Magazine go back and forth on whether social progress was just a carrot used by financial interests to promote neoliberal globalism:

The End of Progressive Neoliberalism

… Trump’s victory is not solely a revolt against global finance. What his voters rejected was not neoliberalism tout court, but progressive neoliberalism. This may sound to some like an oxymoron, but it is a real, if perverse, political alignment that holds the key to understanding the U.S. election results and perhaps some developments elsewhere too. In its U.S. form, progressive neoliberalism is an alliance of mainstream currents of new social movements (feminism, anti-racism, multiculturalism, and LGBTQ rights), on the one side, and high-end “symbolic” and service-based business sectors (Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood), on the other. In this alliance, progressive forces are effectively joined with the forces of cognitive capitalism, especially financialization. However unwittingly, the former lend their charisma to the latter. Ideals like diversity and empowerment, which could in principle serve different ends, now gloss policies that have devastated manufacturing and what were once middle-class lives.

There Was No Such Thing as “Progressive Neoliberalism”

… Fraser’s argument carries an undercurrent of blame toward feminism and other social movements for having participated in what she dubs “progressive neoliberalism.” It was, she argues, a revolt against progressive neoliberalism that led to Trump’s victory over Clinton. By shifting the analysis away from the capitalist class offensive that ushered in the neoliberal order, and which is primarily responsible for the U.S. political drift to the right, Fraser ends up attacking “identity politics” in favor of “class politics.” While her conclusion is that of course the left must embrace anti-sexism and anti-racism, her analysis implies the opposite—she’s clearly suspicious of multiculturalism and diversity.

Against Progressive Neoliberalism, A New Progressive Populism

Johanna Brenner’s reading of my essay misses the centrality of the problem of hegemony. My main point was that the current dominance of finance capital was not achieved only by force but also by what Gramsci called “consent.” Forces favoring financialization, corporate globalization, and deindustrialization succeeded in taking over the Democratic Party, I claimed, by presenting those patently anti-labor policies as progressive. Neoliberals gained power by draping their project in a new cosmopolitan ethos, centered on diversity, women’s empowerment, and LGBTQ rights. Drawing in supporters of such ideals, they forged a new hegemonic bloc, which I called progressive neoliberalism. In identifying and analyzing this bloc, I never lost sight of the power of finance capital, as Brenner claims, but offered an explanation for its political ascendance.

In a broader take, an article in the NY Review of Books looks grimly at the European Union, and what is called populism. In, Is Europe Disintegrating?, Timothy Garton Ash imagines his reaction had he been frozen in 2005, when the Eurozone was robustly expanding:

Cryogenically reanimated in January 2017, I would immediately have died again from shock. For now there is crisis and disintegration wherever I look: the eurozone is chronically dysfunctional, sunlit Athens is plunged into misery, young Spaniards with doctorates are reduced to serving as waiters in London or Berlin, the children of Portuguese friends seek work in Brazil and Angola, and the periphery of Europe is diverging from its core. There is no European constitution, since that was rejected in referendums in France and the Netherlands later in 2005. The glorious freedom of movement for young Poles and other Central and Eastern Europeans has now contributed substantially to a shocking referendum vote by my own country, Britain, to leave the EU altogether. And Brexit brings with it the prospect of being stripped of my European citizenship on the thirtieth anniversary of 1989.

Ash and the authors he cites lend credence to the Mark Blyth prediction that the EU will collapse very soon. He goes on to express fear about populists invoking “the people”:

Populists speak in the name of “the people,” and claim that their direct legitimation from “the people” trumps (the verb has acquired a new connotation) all other sources of legitimate political authority, be it constitutional court, head of state, parliament, or local and state government. Donald Trump’s “I am your voice” is a classic populist statement. But so is the Turkish prime minister’s riposte to EU assertions that a red line had been crossed by his government’s clampdown on media freedom: “The people draw the red lines.” So is the Daily Mail’s front-page headline denouncing three British High Court judges who ruled that Parliament must have a vote on Brexit as “Enemies of the People.” Meanwhile, Polish right-wing nationalists justify an ongoing attempt to neuter Poland’s constitutional court on the grounds that the people are “the sovereign.”

The other crucial populist move is to identify as “the people” (or Volk) what turns out to be only some of the people. A Trump quotation from the campaign trail captures this perfectly: “The only important thing is the unification of the people,” said the Donald, “because the other people don’t mean anything.” UKIP’s Nigel Farage welcomed the Brexit vote as a victory for “ordinary people,” “decent people,” and “real people.” The 48 percent of us who voted on June 23, 2016, for Britain to remain in the EU are plainly neither ordinary nor decent, nor even real. Everywhere it’s the “other people” who now have to watch out: Mexicans and Muslims in the US, Kurds in Turkey, Poles in Britain, Muslims and Jews all over Europe, as well as Sinti and Roma, refugees, immigrants, black people, women, cosmopolitans, homosexuals, not to mention “experts,” “elites,” and “mainstream media.” Welcome to a world of rampant Trumpismo.

Beam Us Up, Mark

Professor of political economy Mark Blyth has been on a roll. The Brown University lecturer with the disarming Dundonian accent predicted that Brexit would pass, that Trump would win, and that Italy would vote No. So it makes sense to at least consider what he’s saying now. On January 4th he told the BBC that the European Union would fold in 2017. Wait, that’s this year:

“For all this… about Brexit and whether Britain should have left, it might be the case the EU ceases to exist before Article 50 is invoked.

“You have an election coming up in France. It’s entirely plausible the National Front will win the first round.

“At that point everyone in France is meant to organise a giant blocking collation to stop them being elected.

“That would mean everyone on the French left would have to vote for someone who basically wants to bring Thatcher’s economic policy menu to France, and that’s after eight years of stagnations – that’s going to be a very hard sell.”

Last week on NPR’s Marketplace (which is probably doomed to be defunded), earnest-sounding David Brancaccio interviewed Blyth:

Brancaccio: It’s interesting. President Obama had an industrial policy. He put federal dollars into, for instance, the alternative energy sector. He tried to promote robotics and advanced manufacturing and so forth. But one couldn’t imagine a Democrat, would you say, going as far as Mr. Trump has in terms of trying to pull the strings of the economy.

Blyth: Well, you can always invoke the “only Nixon can go to China” rule on this one. So let’s go back to the notion that what Trump’s trying to do is get at this collective action problem for capital by reassuring businesses, giving them incentives to stay at home. We’ve seen this before. It was in the 1930s, and it was called the National Industrial Recovery Act. Because what this leads to, if you follow it through, is very big corporations — a kind of oligopolistic structure. And that type of big, strong cartelized structure seems to be the type of economy that Trump and the people around him want to build. And that’s definitely an industrial policy. Whether it’s a feasible one is a different question. It didn’t work in the 30s and no reason why it should work now.

Yesterday in Paste Magazine, Ben Gran tried to summarize Blyth’s rationale in, Trump Is Not a Fluke: Why “Trumpism” Is a Global Phenomenon. After restating much of what Blyth has laid out in his lectures, Gran writes:

Mark Blyth is oddly optimistic about America in the age of Trumpism, especially compared to Europe. He says that America has an advantage over Europe because Europe is bound by the Euro currency, which Blyth says is a “disaster” because individual countries within the Eurozone (such as Greece vs. Germany) have different conflicting political agendas that cannot be addressed by monetary policy. Trump might turn out to be a flash in the pan, a Black Swan event brought on by a one-time bizarre confluence of events and a bad matchup with the Democratic nominee.

One might point out that “Greece vs Germany” isn’t that different than US Rust Belt vs US Research City right now. Yet we all pay about the same for food and other necessities.

Trump might even have some positive effects, in Blyth’s view, because the U.S. would benefit from a more isolationist foreign policy with fewer costly, unending military interventions in other countries. As Blyth says in this discussion on the 2016 election results, if Europe is left to pay more for their own national defense and find their own accommodation with Russia, without relying on American military power, that would not be a bad thing for the U.S. Blyth is skeptical that Trump will actually enact any of his trade protectionist promises, since U.S. voters won’t want to see higher prices for their iPhones (imported from China). It’s possible that Trump’s presidency will be less frighteningly radical than many liberals have feared.

I think the scary part will be what happens to us while the nationalists and neoliberals fight it out. Neither side is particularly concerned with what happens to ordinary people, except so far as we keep buying their stuff.

Aside from Trump’s immediate outrages, the broader challenge for America, and the world, is that the neoliberal political order of the past 30 years in the Western democracies is breaking down. We’ve elected a president who campaigned as a populist, but who’s likely going to govern as a traditional Reagan-style “trickle-down economics” Republican. Those Upper Midwest swing voters who voted based on economic populism and “bringing jobs back” are not remotely going to get the populist politics that Trump promised; so the question is, can the Democrats deliver a real populist alternative instead? Will the American Left be defeated by Trumpism, or can they co-opt Trump’s appeal to the middle-class and working-class, and create a new politics that truly speaks to the concerns of the people who have been left behind by globalization and our new era of wealth inequality?

I’d ask whether the Democrats will even survive as a party without neoliberal elites to back them. So far they’ve offered no real opposition to President Trump, and shown no clue about connecting with the working class.