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marylandblue's Journal
marylandblue's Journal
December 27, 2016

How to fight Trump with Progressive Populism

This should be required reading for all Democrats. Really gets to the heart of Sanders surprise appeal, and more importantly, how to respond to Trump.

Progressive populism is worlds apart from right-wing populism, but it is nonetheless susceptible to its own kinds of blind spots and dangers, especially concerning racial justice. To be clear, in an anti-establishment era like the one we’re in, the alternative to building progressive populism is to cede the “populist space” to dangerous reactionaries, which is a far more dangerous prospect for the interests of both racial and economic justice. Incidentally, that’s precisely the situation we’re in at the moment. But if and when we regain the populist momentum, we have to do better than previous struggles have done. The central fissure that has prevented progressive political alignment throughout the history of the United States is the tension between racial justice and economic justice frameworks. That tension played out in 2016 — dramatically in the Sanders campaign — and it will continue to be a very real tension for a long time to come. But we can step up to navigate it conscientiously and strategically. We can build a progressive populism that centers both racial justice and economic justice, and whose leadership reflects the diversity of a multiracial alignment of social forces. The millennial generation, with its promising new wave of social movements — from Black Lives Matter to immigrant Dreamers to Occupy Wall Street — may just produce leaders capable of doing this better than others have been able to do in the past. It will not be easy, but that is the task.

But how can this be the path forward not just for progressives but also for the Democratic Party if the party establishment is actively resisting such a direction? There are only two answers to this question: We’ll have to either persuade them or replace them. More precisely, once we prove capable of replacing some of them, we will have the power to persuade others. We have to start right now.


December 12, 2016

The Uncomfortable View from 1824

Or, what our real problem is

"Americans elites in 1824 successfully prevented a demagogue from assuming the presidency. The demagogue, Andrew Jackson, won a clear plurality of the popular votes and a small plurality of electoral votes...This elite success was short-lived. ..Jackson, who received only 41 percent of the popular vote in 1824, received 56% of the vote in 1828... Jackson and his allies in Congress sponsored a genocidal removal of native Americans from the south, substantially increased national support for human bondage, created a recession by destroying the national banking system, put an end to internal improvements, and scuttled plans for a national university. Jackson’s bellicosity set in motion the events that led to the Mexican War and probably, the events that led to the Civil War...

"American elites were right to perceive a constitutional crisis in 1824, but they misperceived that crisis. Jefferson, Madison, the Adams clan, and other persons associated with the framing generations loathed Andrew Jackson, a person they correctly regarded as constitutionally unsuited for the presidency because of his bigotry, proclivity to violence and lack of knowledge about public affairs. The actual constitutional crisis in 1824 was that a substantial percentage of American voters enthusiastically cast their ballots for a person constitutionally unsuited for the presidency because of his bigotry, proclivity to violence and lack of knowledge about public affairs....

"The lesson 1824 should teach 2016 is that the approximately 47% of voters who cast ballots for Donald Trump on election day is the most fundamental crisis of our time rather the accidental outcome that a person grossly unfit for the presidency was elected this time. A nation in which 47% of the voters are willing to vote for a person patently unqualified to be president of the United States (or Treasurer of the Linden Community Civil Association for that matter) is a nation in deep constitutional trouble regardless of whether by accidents of timing and whether that candidate wins or loses...

"we need to follow Abraham Lincoln, who spent almost no time during the 1850s persuading the already persuaded that the three-fifths rule was unfair and a good deal of time persuading crucial voters (by the rules of the time) that both their principles and their self-interest were better served by Republicans than Jacksonian Democrats. One hopes this lesson is learned in less than thirty years."


Edited to correct title

December 3, 2016

I found this article soothes my fears

Suggests that Donald Trump will be a "disjunctive" president, where conservativism finally fails and he is the sort of president who ushers in a surprising shift to dominance by the other party. Not that a Trump presidency will be a bed of roses, far from it, but if history is a guide there is light at the end of the tunnel.-


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