The Bad News: Britain is Going to Hell in a Handbasket; So is Europe
The Bad News: Trump is Taking Us to Hell in a Handbasket
She was fired because there were limits to her cruelty and lawlessness. Trump has none.
The Good News: Maybe the Right Leader Could Save Us
George Packer, Is America Undergoing a Political Realignment?
Perhaps the Democratic Party, and with it a majority of Americans, have reached the point where fine-tuning a grossly unjust economy and a corrupt political system no longer cuts it. Perhaps, after decades of inequality and rule by organized money, a critical mass of the electorate is ready to hear radical solutions—a wealth tax, a public insurance option, a green economic program, sweeping political reforms, even constitutional changes. Perhaps this means a realignment of the party and the country to the left. We won’t know until the election. If so, then it’s past time.
But realignment depends on political leadership, which isn’t just a matter of ideology or policy. Campaigns tell stories, and in politics as in literature, style matters as much as plot. Roosevelt and Reagan, ideological opposites, both won by speaking in a way that gave Americans a sense of dignity and belonging and made them hopeful. They didn’t win by haranguing the public. They didn’t win by implying that anyone who disagreed must be either stupid or venal. They didn’t assemble majorities by degrading Americans into identity blocs. They didn’t force their party to pledge allegiance to the most extreme positions, or turn politics into a joyless exercise in orthodoxy. They hammered their opponents, but they did it with a smile.
The choice between radical solutions and a unifying appeal is a false choice. If the Democrats end up with a hectoring, humorless, disdainful, divisive candidate who doesn’t speak to the whole country because he or she doesn’t have a vision for the country, then we’ll almost certainly enter the darkness of a second Trump term. If they choose a leader whose radicalism is hopeful and whose anger is generous, then we might just have a realignment.