Dump Trump © Matthew Baldwin | Flickr
DemocracyDemocracy ForumEssaysFeature

For Ressentiment: An Alternative to Trumpism

Donald Trump’s campaign of anger may have jumped the shark this past week, and I am afraid that may lead my friends on the Left (whether you like Bernie, Jill, or Hillary) to mistake the lessons of this electoral cycle. It is tempting to believe that the collapsing Trump campaign signals something larger, a triumph of optimism over fear, but that is precisely the lesson we should not draw. Trump’s successes draw on the well of despair and rage in the American voter, but his failure would not mean that despair and rage have lost their political salience. It is high time we on the Left learned to embrace instead of reject ressentiment — the feeling of impotence that leads to anger directed against enemies we blame for our suffering — as a means of mobilizing voters. Ressentiment is a potent political weapon, as Friedrich Nietzsche knew so well, but for the last forty years it has been almost the exclusive provenance of the Right. …

Sanders Supporters © Becker1999 | Flickr
DemocracyDemocracy ForumEssaysFeatureThe Left

How the Sanders Agenda Can Move Forward in a Hillary Presidency

Everyday political discourse commonly reduces the significance of elections to individual personalities: one candidate wins, another candidate loses. In legislative elections, this way of assessing an election is perfectly legitimate.

Matters are more complicated, however, when considering executive branch elections, whether at the mayor, governor or presidential level. The executive branch itself is a large army of people: administrators, program managers, analysts, researchers and all the other people who do the everyday work of government, and who turn broad policy priorities into concrete action steps.  …

ABC NEWS - 7/28/16 - Coverage of the 2016 Democratic National Convention from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA which airs on all ABC News programs and platforms. (ABC/Fred Watkins)  | Flickr
DemocracyDemocracy ForumEssaysFeature

At DNC Obama Reaffirmed Central Vision: Why it Matters for Democratic Politics Today

One of the things that Barack Obama delivered in his speech at the Democratic National Convention, which has to rank among his truly great speeches, was a powerful restatement of his central orienting vision of political community and democratic citizenship, which he first presented during his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2007-2008. After all the trials and tribulations of his presidency, it’s clear that he still remains committed to that vision, like it or not. In fact, anyone who follows Obama’s speech closely and compares it with some key speeches he gave in 2008 will notice that he went out of his way to emphasize some of the continuities. …

2016-06-07 i voted © Robert Couse-Baker |Flickr
DemocracyEssaysFeatureThe Left

The Left, the 2016 Election and the Cunning of History

Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president has fallen short, edged out by Hillary Clinton’s formidable organization and her deep ties to the Party’s establishment. The Sanders campaign offered a genuine alternative, funded by record-breaking amounts of small donations from ordinary people, promising to implement an agenda of progressive social, economic, political and foreign policy reforms. Many disaffected young people in particular were brought into the Party and helped Sanders win his share of caucuses and primaries. Still he fell short. And now as the Democrats pivot to the general election to defeat the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, the critical question is whether those young folks and others who were so energized to vote for Bernie as a progressive alternative are willing to show up on election day to vote for Hillary. …