Thursday, September 12, 2013

Left turn maybe

Recommended reading: "The Rise of the New New Left," by Peter Beinart. Opening:
Maybe Bill de Blasio got lucky. Maybe he only won because he cut a sweet ad featuring his biracial son. Or because his rivals were either spectacularly boring, spectacularly pathological, or running for Michael Bloomberg’s fourth term. But I don’t think so. The deeper you look, the stronger the evidence that de Blasio’s victory is an omen of what may become the defining story of America’s next political era: the challenge, to both parties, from the left. It’s a challenge Hillary Clinton should start worrying about now.
The article goes on at some length and is hard to summarize. I'm not really convinced by it, but I'm not so ready to dismiss its expectation of left-wing ferment either, and it's interesting in any case. To me, Occupy Wall Street's rapid disintegration was at least as significant as its rapid emergence; and an Elizabeth Warren nomination is an outlier of a possibility. I could be wrong.

Beinart's discussion of "political generations" (people's politics being strongly shaped by events as they were coming of age) strikes me as eminently plausible, and it doesn't necessarily contradict my sense that foreign policy is going to be a big factor next time around. I recall the first time I extended my daily newspaper routine beyond the comics and sports pages to look at the front of the New York Daily News. There was something there about this, and I got interested in the wider world pretty fast.

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