Monday, July 25, 2016

A win for the reformers

The resignation this week of Debbie Wasserman Schultz as Democratic national chairman is an encouraging sign that the political revolution Bernie Sanders fought for over the past year not only has begun but will continue.  A book that made the case for that sweeping reform is Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer -- and Turned its Back on the Middle Class.  It's as relevant today as it was at publication in 2010, when authors Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson wrote:

"...The politics of renewal cannot become deeply grounded without mass engagement as well as elite leadership. ,,, Political reformers will need to mobilize for the long haul, appreciating that it is not electoral competitions alone that are decisive, but also the creation of organized capacity to cement a meaningful middle-class democracy by turning electoral victories into substantive and sustainable triumphs." 

The Sanders revolution will be the work of a generation, just as the Progressive reforms a century ago were not fully realized until the Franklin Roosevelt years.  But the work is well begun.  As I head back to the library today with Winner-Take-All, I am hopeful that the book wins a new round of attention and careful readers who will step up to the challenge. 

Background: What finally forced DWS out

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Yes, Andrea, the anger is real

I think many people are angry that our country's overall prosperity hasn't enabled them or their families to escape the paycheck-to-paycheck kind of life. 

Every little city here in Virginia has one or more mills that closed in the past 40 years as manufacturing was moved somewhere offshore. There are empty shoe factories in Lynchburg, knitting mills all across the Southside, furniture factories in Bassett, Martinsville, and Pulaski, and a big nylon thread plant in Martinsville.  The list goes on.  

Displaced workers have not found, in so many cases, the kind of steady work they and their parents had in the generation following World War II. Stocking shelves with made-in-China goods, clerking at a chain store, dishing up hamburgers, these jobs are available but the pay doesn't go far and often the hours don't even qualify for benefits. 

Yes, people are angry and Donald Trump learned quickly how to stoke that anger into something dangerous.