Some of the articles I read this week:
- Hillary Clinton has adopted more liberal policies during her campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination in response to a strong Bernie Sanders challenge and a liberal shift among Democrats. Pressure from the grassroots is how change happens. Some people may call this flip-flopping, but we can also call it democratic responsiveness to the will of one’s supporters. For example, better that Clinton has publicly promised to protect and expand Social Security than otherwise, whatever her personal feelings.
- Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) restoring the voting franchise to 200,000 Virginia citizens is a good example of how politicians tend to enact policies under pressure from their supporters, even if we think those politicians are centrist hacks. Change often ends with a political leader rather than begins with him or her. As Scott Lemieux explains, “In the end, presidents lead coalitions.”
- On a related note, while trying to engage political opponents is good, Sanders supporters would do better by focusing on pressuring the party that shares their interests rather than pretending that the Tea Party is full of closet democratic socialists.
- Donald Trump figured out how to hack the Republican nomination contest.
- However, in doing so, Trump has alienated the largest voting force in American politics: women. Conservatives like to minimize these problems Republicans have with certain voting groups by railing against “identity politics” (let’s briefly mention two problems with this: first, it’s a category error to conflate interests and identity, and second, it’s a blatant double standard that somehow it’s bad for Democrats to appeal to certain groups based on their interests, such as reproductive health, while it’s okay for Republicans to appeal to certain groups based on their interests, such as discrimination against LGBT citizens). Josh Marshall puts it in terms of “political bilingualism” in which the two likely candidates, Trump and Clinton, speak mutually unintelligible politics. The problem for Trump is that his language is understood by fewer and fewer people. Trump’s going to need a repeal of the 19th Amendment in order to win the general election.
- The Republican Party is really, really unpopular.
- Ed Kilgore interviews an expert on the Republican nomination-process and learns that it’s possible to thwart Trump if he doesn’t reach the majority threshold of 1,237 first ballot-pledged delegates, but hey, who knows at this point.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!