Winds of Change?

Posted by Bob Lord

I'm more optimistic right now about our future than I've been since Occupy.

Inequality is the defining issue of our time. And I have this feeling we're living through a dramatic quickening in the movement against inequality. 

Consider what we've seen in just the past few months:

First, the development of real movements in support of fast food workers and Walmart workers, with no signs of dissipation.

Then, a dramatic progressive victory in the 2013 elections. Yes, Chris Christie won re-election against a virtually unknown and woefully underfunded challenger, but, as The Nation magazine noted, that was not the real story. The real story was Bill deBlasio's landslide victory and the SeaTac ballot initiative creating a $15 minimum wage.

Then, noises about a potential Elizabeth Warren candidacy in 2016.

Then, a message from the Pope about the immorality of inequality and, in that message, a blistering attack on trickle down economics. The Pope was not alone. The Dalai Lama issued a similar statement just a few days ago. And of course President Obama has chimed in as well, stating, unequivocally, that inequality is the defining issue of our time. 

Last, there's a significant development that most Americans didn't notice. But BlueMeanie did in his post, The Democratic wing of the Democratic Party fights back against the corporatist Third Way, and Paul Krugman did in his post, Badge of Seriousness Watch. The Third Way, a "centrist" Democratic Party establishment think tank, launched an unprovoked attack against Elizabeth Warren and Bill deBlasio, which backfired badly.

That sort of thing doesn't happen often. The Democratic Party establishment's normal M.O. is to ignore progressives, not to attack them. Krugman nails it here:

And once you realize how long self-styled centrists have virtually defined their identity in terms of what they imagine is their courage in going after Social Security, you can see why the shifting tides — the rise of Democrats who no longer feel the need to keep the WaPo opinion page happy — are leaving them a bit unhinged.

We may still be in the tea leaf reading stages of this, but it sure seems that the Democratic Party establishment is running scared of a rising progressive wave. Forget about Ready for Hillary. It's more like Ready for Elizabeth or Ready for Bill (de Blasio, that is).  

I've thought for quite awhile we need a William Jennings Bryan without the religious crap. If the stars continue to align the way they seem to be, we just might get one come 2016. Will it be Elizabeth Warren or Bill deBlasio? I have no idea, but I know this: I'll take either one. 

2 responses to “Winds of Change?

  1. Last I looked, Bloomberg was an Independent, not a Republican.

    New York has had a low (and declining) crime rate for decades. I lived there i in the 80’s, and it was already low. So, are you confusing correlation and causation here? Seems like you are. Want an explanation of New York’s lower crime rate? Read Freakonomics.

    And describing Bloomberg as a Republican in this context is particularly dishonest, because the issue where Bloomberg’s politics most sharply depart from Republican dogma, gun control, is particularly relevant to New York’s crime rate.

    And what are you suggesting, that we need to accept increased inequality in order to enjoy a lower crime rate? That’s ridiculous.

  2. Under a Republican mayor, New York City got down to where there were just 35 murders between unrelated people. The big winners? Poor and minority residents who weren’t murdered, mugged and robbed. The other big winners? The poor and minority males who did not spend their lives in jail after making the mistake of mugging or murdering. The other big winners? Teachers! When you have the tremenoudsly reduced prison population that New York had, you have more money for teacher salaries.

    Diblassio promises to reverse all the policies that led to this success. Maybe he was kidding.