The New York Times argues that Elizabeth Warren “the populist” is rattling the towers of Wall Street. “With a populist message that promises to rein in corporate excess, Ms. Warren has been facing more hostility from the finance industry than any other candidate.”
Ms. Warren has made battling corporate greed and corruption a central theme of her fiercely populist campaign, mixing anti-elitist oratory with policy plans calling for sweeping new regulations. On Friday morning she released an ambitious proposal to pay for her “Medicare for all” program, with provisions directly affecting Wall Street: aggressive new taxes on billionaires, an additional tax on financial transactions like stock trades and annual investment gains taxes for the wealthiest households.
It’s not just Trump who’s a populist, but the potential frontrunner of the other party. Apart from Biden, there is no champion for the Restoration in the Democratic Party, unless Hillary comes back in. The old world, even the old future Barack Obama promised to usher in, seems to be receding into the past. Politics is now veering into the post-something era. “Change has come to America” but it is not the one Obama anticipated.
Because the Democratic Party’s run to the populist left makes building a coalition with the establishment against Trump harder, The Guardian thinks a Clinton candidacy may be forced or at least hard to rule out. “The candidate who lost to Trump is making all the right moves as some fear a primary gone too far left. It’s a tantalizing notion, but most observers counsel caution – and a dose of realism.”
The sense that something strange is going on began a few weeks ago. A book is a traditional vehicle for a candidate. The former secretary of state launched The Book of Gutsy Women, co-written with daughter Chelsea, and embarked on a tour that included events, speeches and late-night TV appearances.
Clinton, 72, whose narrow, devastating defeat by Trump was one of the greatest upsets in political history, has also become more prolific and pugnacious on Twitter. On 25 September, after revelations about Trump’s call with the president of Ukraine, she wrote: “The president of the United States has betrayed our country … He is a clear and present danger to the things that keep us strong and free. I support impeachment.” …
All this could be dismissed as no more than a smart way to promote a book, were it not coinciding with mild panic in Democratic ranks. The primary has attracted a record number of candidates and record diversity yet, many argue, failed to produce a John F Kennedy, a Bill Clinton or a Barack Obama, in terms of natural political gifts or charisma.
What the primary did produce, or so the NYT article implies, is a populist candidate from the Left. This has left the Big Tent in tatters. As an earlier issue of the Times rhetorically asked: “Anxious Democratic Establishment Asks, ‘Is There Anybody Else?’” No one else but you-know-who? Not if the goal is a restoration of the world lost in November 2016.
It is Washington’s inability to retrace its steps that makes the impeachment and counter-impeachment battle so perilous. It won’t bring things back to the way things used to be. Rather, it will drive events deeper into terra incognita.
Support the Belmont Club by purchasing from Amazon through the links below.
Appeasement: Chamberlain, Hitler, Churchill, and the Road to War, by Tim Bouverie. Drawing on deep archival research and sources not previously seen by historians, this groundbreaking history chronicles the disastrous years of indecision, failed diplomacy and parliamentary infighting that enabled Hitler’s domination of Europe.
Revolutionary: George Washington at War, by Robert E. O’Connell. An introduction to Washington before he was Washington. This book from an acclaimed military historian is a bold reappraisal of young George Washington, an ambitious if reckless soldier destined to become the legendary general who took on the British and, through his leadership, defined the American character.
God: A Human History, by Reza Aslan. “Whether we are aware of it or not, and regardless of whether we’re believers or not, what the vast majority of us think about when we think about God is a divine version of ourselves.” This innate desire to humanize God is hardwired in our brains, making it a central feature of nearly every religious tradition, according to Aslan. In this book, not only does he take us on a history of our understanding of God but tries to get to the root of this humanizing impulse.
The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium, by Martin Gurri. This book tells the story of how insurgencies, enabled by digital devices and a vast information sphere, have mobilized millions of ordinary people around the world. It also ponders whether the current elite class can bring about a reformation of the democratic process, and whether new organizing principles, adapted to a digital world, can emerge from the present political turbulence.
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Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with your friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.
Open Curtains by George Spix and Richard Fernandez. Technology represents both unlimited promise and menace. Which transpires depends on whether people can claim ownership over their knowledge or whether human informational capital continues to suffer the Tragedy of the Commons.
The War of the Words, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea, how China is restarting history in the Pacific.