Summary: So far the Left has talked of forming a resistance to Trump, a first step to pushing back the power of the 1% and rolling back the GOP’s gains in State and Federal governments. But they have shown little interest in building the broad coalition needed to do so. Here is a brief recap of how the Left got here, and how it can reform to win.
“United we stand, divided we fall.”
— From Aesop’s fable, “The Four Oxen and the Lion“.
The response was fascinating to my post The Left becomes a cult rather than gather support to oppose Trump. Most validated my observations about the Left. Contempt for workers, factionalism, in-group jargon (my favorite: I’m a “performative centrist“) — and a remarkable drop from the high intellectual standards formerly commonplace on the Left.
What went wrong?
The 1% has grown powerful since their renaissance began in 1964. Worse, as many people warned, American workers have drifted from the Left to Right as the Left shifted its focus from economic growth and income redistribution to them to the priorities of social justice warriors (starting the bathroom wars during the campaign was almost suicidal). Thomas Frank wrote several books about this, most recently Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? Also see Michael Hirsh’s “Why Trump and Sanders Were Inevitable: It was only a matter of time before we had a populist backlash to 30 years of flawed globalization policies that both parties embraced” in Politico Magazine, February 2016.
Most on the Left prefer not see the overlap in views of Trump and Sanders. Also see this insightful report by Working America: “‘Front Porch Focus Group’ Explores Appeal of Trump’s Right-Wing Message to working-class voters.”
All of this appears to have had little effect on the Left. The response to Trump’s election has been to double-down on failed tactics — obsession with the rumors about a Trump-Putin conspiracy plus lots and lots of name-calling.