Political Palliation for the American Left

Member Group : Jerry Shenk


In a recent article entitled “The Great Lesson of California in America’s New Civil War,” self-identified liberals Peter Leyden and Ruy Teixeira make the (hopeful) prediction that California’s example is America’s future.

In it, California, an insolvent, Democrat-run state, has inspired a “bloodless civil war” in a nation divided by a litany of red and blue state incompatibilities that “inevitably” favor liberals.

One cannot dispute the piece’s subtitle: “[T]here’s no bipartisan way forward at this juncture in our history – one side must win.”

The writers demonize the Republican Party as one “trapped in the brain-dead orthodoxies of an ideology stuck in the past,” “that refused to work with the Democrats in good faith or compromise in any way,” who “misunderstand the other side, then…misrepresent them, and eventually make them the enemy.”

They conclude, “The opportunity for compromise is then lost. This is where America is today.”

That is, indeed, where America is today, but the remainder of Leyden’s and Teixeira’s narrative is a clinical case of psychological projection. Their pejorative word choices alone confirm that no group has moved farther from the center or more-egregiously vilified and misrepresented their opposition than left-sprinting Democrats.

They write, “[President Donald] Trump could have come into office with a genuinely new agenda that could have helped working people,” without explaining how a newly-robust economy, millions of new jobs and tax reductions for 90 percent of American taxpayers don’t help working people.

The writers also accuse Trump of “turning the Republican brand toxic for millennials, women, Latinos, people of color, college-educated people, urban centers, the tech industry, and the economic powerhouses of the coasts…” Translation:  “Parochial progressives despise Trump and everyone who voted for him – including the women, people of color, millennials and college graduates.”

And: “The side resisting change, usually the one most rooted in the past systems and incumbent interests, must be thoroughly defeated…for a generation or two.”

But, among “past systems and incumbent interests,” the writers never mention antiquated, insolvent or failed Democratic programs, some dating to the 1930s and 1960s, such as Social Security, public welfare, Medicaid, renewable-energy subsidies, unfunded public union employee pensions or Obamacare.

More: “Now the entire Republican Party, and the…conservative movement…is…positioned for the final takedown that will cast them out…in the political wilderness. They deserve it.”

Relax, conservatives, the “takedown” isn’t final – or even imminent.

For context, in 2002, Teixeira, along with co-writer John Judis, published a book entitled “The Emerging Democratic Majority” which promised that, in 2002, “white America” would be “supplanted by multiracial, multiethnic America.”

But, in 2017, Judis published a New Republic article, “Redoing the Electoral Math,” which revisited their 2002 prediction: Judis wrote, “I argued that demographics favored the Democrats. I was wrong.”

Chastened, Judis wasn’t involved in drafting Teixeira’s California fantasy.

Teixeira, often with collaborators, has fashioned a career out of reassuring anxious, insecure liberals. He hasn’t merely been wrong, but consistently, profoundly wrong.

Teixeira won’t quit, though, as long as there’s a receptive progressive market for self-affirming political palliation.