I am not sure if there is anyone left around here who might appreciate this essay, but on the offchance, I thought I would share it. It is a short history on liberalism, it’s trajectory, effect on/creation of the reactionary conservative movement, and the current problems associated with liberalism’s prominence. As someone who many would see as a leftist (and I would note here that liberal and left are distinct and not the same) a great deal of this rings true for those of us who view liberalism from the outside- I would however take issue with the author’s view that we will move into a “post-liberal” period. I think that in the past, the left has identified a great deal with liberalism, and the two have shared the road so to speak, and now I think the left is in the process of formally separating itself (or being driven away) from liberalism. From my recent reading of left-intellectuals, and acquaintances who hold strongly left ideals, there is now an overwhelming consensus that policy positions, both past and present (“interests” in the essay) should be examined rather than rhetoric and stated values. This means that voting and support will be independent of party affiliation (This has actually been present for a long time among many of my acquaintances, but is now much more commonly articulated, discussed, and stressed as an item of importance) and as a result of this, those that identify with political ideologies that fall within the left spectrum are examining the policies of Clinton and Trump and some of them are concluding that Trump is supporting policies that more align with the interests that are most important to them (the most common refrain I hear is that Trump is less likely to expand the warfare state, however positions on trade and immigration are also commonly cited-note that this does not mean that they agree with all of Trump’s policies, rather that he is their LOTE choice). Others make the same conclusion about Clinton and have chosen to support her, and still more-I think the greatest share, are choosing to support third parties. The point here, is that it seems that the left appears to be no longer captive to the Democratic party. I do not think there will be a post-liberal era, however I do believe that liberalism will be diminished.
On a related note, I think it is important to note some other important consequences associated with this election. The Clinton campaign, in it’s effort to capture so called moderate Republicans (I would note however, that they are anything but moderate, as all of the high profile defections are dominated by hard-core neocons) is not criticizing Republican policy, and is instead focusing on criticizing Trump himself, mostly rhetorically and through the use of identity politics. The big problem with this, is that it hinders candidates in down ballot races. This presents a difficult dilemma-consider, if down ballot Democratic candidates criticize their Republican opponents, they either run the risk of opposing Clinton policy positions, or they risk alienating the very Republican voters that the Clinton campaign is trying to capture. Based on this, I predict a poor showing by the Democrats in down ballot races nation-wide regardless of whether Clinton wins or loses.
I think that there were a great many currents already moving beneath the surface, however it seems that the Clinton candidacy/campaign, along with the incredibly biased behavior of the Democratic party and corporate media have triggered a tectonic shift in the political discourse and affiliations in the US. I am not sure what the end result will be, but it clearly appears that big changes are afoot.