The Democratic leadership, and its leftwing intellectual base, are feeling implausibly smug these days. They figure it this way: the Trump era is going to inspire a blowback. Trump will make a terrible mess, destabilize income security and health care access, and skew social power in favor of fat cats, and all of this will make people angry.
Then the Left will hold all the cards. They will say: told ya so. They will tap into populist impulses with their own plan for greatness, tacking further Left than Obama was willing to go. They offer up vast income guarantees, expanded economic regulation, a puffed-up welfare state, universal health care, a war on rich people like Trump, and then they rule, forever and ever, saecula saeculorum, amen.
They should rethink this. It’s probably not going to work.
It is precisely in reaction to such policies, and the complex demographics of class and race resentment they give rise to, that hard Right movements rose in the US and Europe. There will be no mass regret for turning away from social-democratic policies. On the contrary, sticking to big-government economics will perpetuate far-Right rule here and abroad. The Left has to rethink, and fast, and it means raising fundamental questions about their economic orthodoxies. (more...)