In Search of Progressive America

In Search of Progressive America

In Search of Progressive America

In Search of Progressive America

Synopsis

'In Search of Progressive America' presents ten essays by journalists, academics and government insiders that address the current state of the Left in US politics. The authors propose ways to create a new political order by building an inclusive, durable coalition.

Excerpt

Michael Kazin

During the final year of the reign of Bush and Cheney, the era of conservative dominance also appears to be stumbling toward an end. No administration has been so unpopular since the early days of disco. and the fall of Richard Nixon in 1974 was due primarily to the Watergate scandal, not to the accumulation of disastrous policies stretching from the levees of New Orleans to the streets of Baghdad. When his Texas protégé campaigned for president in 2000, Karl Rove predicted the gop would hold power for decades to come. Clever activists on the Right would weld a durable majority by keeping taxes down, turning Social Security into a private concern, welcoming immigrants who rejected unions, and returning abortionists to back alleys. But that brave new political world was strangled in its cradle in 2006 when the Democrats recaptured control of Congress.

Behind the Right’s collapse lay a sea change in public opinion. Nearly every poll taken after the 2006 election found that most voters agreed with views liberals had long advocated. Solid majorities favored: a big hike in the minimum wage, government-mandated health insurance for every American, stronger gun control laws, sex education programs that talk about condoms as well as abstinence, laws that would make it easier for unions to organize, and using diplomacy instead of war to combat terrorism. Writing for the Nation, Rick Perlstein composed a little ditty about the polls: “You suspected it all along, Now it just might be true: Most Americans think like you.”

But it was far from clear that progressives, the mildly inclusive term now favored on the broad Left, were ready to take charge. the . . .

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