In honor of New York primary day, here’s the latest in political writing from n+1:
Where The Boys Are by Marissa Brostoff
For months prior to Steinem’s remark (and a similarly inapt insinuation from Madeleine Albright the same weekend about “a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other”), the dominant meme in the debate over youth, gender, and the Democratic primaries had been the figure of the “Bernie bro,” a misogynistic white guy ready for socialist adventure whose anti-Hillary venom confirmed that the left remains an unsafe place for women—a latter-day incarnation, perhaps, of the Lauderdale Legion. The Bernie babe conjured by Steinem—the young woman who campaigns against her own interests, so great is her desire to meet bros—proved such an unconvincing character in the popular imagination that, at least momentarily, the shoe was on the other foot. Clinton supporters were forced to disown what appeared to be a rogue version of the specious and sexist logic that had shored up the construction of the Bernie bro in the first place: the idea that radical politics is, in some inherent sense, a dude sport.
Bernie’s World by the Editors (from Issue 25)
Where is this Sanders now? The failure of the antiwar Sanders to emerge has been roundly criticized in the usual precincts — the late Alexander Cockburn having prepared the way in column after column (“that brass-lunged fraud from Vermont, Bernard Sanders, ‘socialist progressive,’ who has endorsed Clinton’s bombs”). But perhaps what’s missing isn’t the anti-imperialist Sanders. It’s the antiwar movement he was once part of, and which no longer exists.
The End of the End of History, Redux by Frank Guan
Presidents have come and gone since 1992, but the faith in the virtues of trade liberalization and the superior intelligence of free markets relative to that of state planning, professed unanimously by Presidents, American business conglomerates, and the professional political and business media, has remained both constant and unchallengeable—until this year. The 2016 presidential election has revived debates on industrial and economic policy absent from the national stage for nearly a quarter century: cumulative shifts in economic stratification, cultural representation, and communications technology promoted under neoliberal hegemony have generated the conditions of its demise. If topically the 2016 election season resembles nothing so much as the election season of 1992, it also represents the inversion of the ideological consensus forged by the former season’s outcome.
Trump and the Republicans by Daniel Schlozman
No matter what enthusiasm he generates, Trump is massively unpopular. According to a recent Gallup survey, 30 percent of US adults view him favorably and 63 percent view him unfavorably. Under those circumstances Democrats hold advantages beyond what would be expected given a solid but not spectacular economy, and a party already in office for eight years. Barack Obama is not on the ballot, but Democrats will count on an unreconstructed birther and xenophobe to turn out African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans. Then add the Republican defectors, the group most uncertain in size and demographics. Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania, a must-win state for Trump, telegraphs the strategy, however disappointing to old leftists: “For every one of those blue-collar Democrats he picks up, he will lose to Hillary two socially moderate Republicans and independents in suburban Cleveland, suburban Columbus, suburban Cincinnati, suburban Philadelphia, suburban Pittsburgh, places like that.” Those same suburbanites may well stay home or even blank the presidential vote, giving the “missing white voters” a very different cast than in 2012.
We Can Keep the American People Safe by Richard Beck
We’re now entering the fifteenth year in which safety and security have been the preeminent terms of our political discourse. In Boston, in the wake of the marathon bombing, “safety” excused the imposition of what constituted martial law in everything but name: nineteen thousand national guard troops, a “shelter in place” alert, police instructions that people stay away from the windows in their homes, the MBTA shut down, people yanked out of their buildings at gunpoint. Friends of mine living in Watertown photographed a SWAT team rifling through their big plastic garbage bins and put the pictures on Facebook. This was done so that police could find a 19-year-old whose bomb killed three people and failed to cause structural damage to any surrounding buildings.
Don’t forget to vote.