In December 2019, the British Labour Party suffered its worst defeat since 1935. Last Thursday, with a spate of local races and a parliamentary bye-election as the result of a resignation, Labour under its new leader Keir Starmer had a chance to redeem itself. But Labour lost the bye-election in Hartlepool decisively and seems to have been drubbed in local elections outside of London and university towns. These sorry results suggest that Labour may in for a long-term decline similar to that which it endured after Margaret Thatcher and the Tories’ victory in 1979.
I’m second to no one in praising Joe Biden and the Democrats for passing the $1.9 trillion relief bill. But I have doubts about a few other initiatives coming from Biden, the House Democrats, or both. One of these is HR 1, the For the People Act, passed by the House. I’m all for it, but it won’t pass the Senate, and the Democrats need to pass something that will repudiate Republican attempts at voter suppression.
“Of all things, don’t throw me in the briar patch,” Brer Rabbit implores Brer Wolf, but Brer Wolf, wanting to do away with his nemesis, tosses him in the briar patch, from which Brer Rabbit, who was born and bred in the briar patch, emerges, laughing at the fox. The fox is Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats; Trump is the rabbit; and the briar patch is impeachment. Read More
The damage inflicted by the pandemic and recession is well known: hundreds of thousands dead, millions out of work. The psychological damage has also been noted: the increase in anxiety and depression disorders, a rise in childhood suicides. But the pandemic may have also contributed to the craziness of our politics. Read More
A lot of people, including me, were misled by opinion polls into thinking that Democrats would make out like bandits in this election the way they did in 2018. As the “blue wave” has receded, many Democrats have gone to the opposite extreme and pronounced that outside of getting rid of Trump, the election must be counted as a failure. My own view is that the Democrats did about as well as could be expected given the political divisions in the country. Read More
If I were younger and living in Kenosha, Wisconsin, I would have been in the streets protesting the police shooting a Black man in the back as he got into a car with his three children already seated there. There may have been extraordinary extenuating circumstances, but based on the video, it would seem that this was as egregious an act as the killing of George Floyd and that the officers involved should be prosecuted and that the city’s police department dramatically reformed. Read More
Conventions present the face of the party to voters. The Democrats of 2020 are the party of democracy, character and competence (contra Trump) and social inclusivity, with an emphasis on women and minority groups. Programmatically, they promise a continuation of the Obama years, for instance, incrementally shoring up the Affordable Care Act. (The words “public option” were notably missing from Biden’s speech.)
On the eve of the Democratic convention, a Danish newspaper asked me whether I thought the “emerging Democratic majority,” which Ruy Teixeira and I wrote about, was still intact. Here is a revised version of what I wrote them.
In 2001, Ruy and I did predict that by the decade’s end, there would be a Democratic majority, although not on the scale of the New Deal majority. We felt vindicated by the 2006 and 2008 Democratic results, which more or less followed our script of a majority based on professionals, women, minorities, and about 40 percent of the white working class. The one thing we didn’t anticipate was the support of young people as a distinct group for the Democrats, which has carried over. Read More
The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis was racial injustice at its worst. But the violent protests that it has sparked may have no good effect for those who have suffered from racial discrimination and, more broadly, for Americans who fear another four years of Donald Trump. A political scientist, Omar Wasow, cautiously makes the case in a New Yorker interview that these violent protests help law and order Republicans. I was actually around in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and have studied the political history of the times, and can attest to that fact. Read More