Thursday, January 02, 2014
Maybe It's Finally Our Turn at Bat
Canadian progressives should be delighted to witness the possible return in 2014 of the Democratic Left. It's happening and it should send a message, loud and clear, to our own Liberals and New Dems who have overseen their parties' own defection to the Right.
TruthDig's E.J. Dionne writes that change is coming.
For a long time, the American conversation has been terribly distorted by the existence of an active, uncompromising political right unbalanced by a comparably influential left. As a result, our entire debate has been dragged more and more in a conservative direction, meaning that the center is pushed that way too.
...the Democratic left is animated by the battle against growing inequality and declining social mobility—the idea, as Warren has said repeatedly, that “the system is rigged for powerful interests and against working families.” Warren and her allies are not anti-capitalist. Their goal is to reform the system so it spreads its benefits more widely. Warren has argued that everything she’s done on behalf of financial reform has, in fact, been designed to make markets work better.
The resurgent progressives are battling a double standard. They are asking why it is that “populism” is a good thing when it’s invoked by the tea party against “liberal elites,” but suddenly a bad thing when it describes efforts to raise the minimum wage and take other steps toward a fairer system of economic rewards.
And here’s why moderates should be cheering them on: When politicians can ignore the questions posed by the left and are pushed to focus almost exclusively on the right’s concerns about “big government” and its unquestioning faith in deregulated markets, the result is immoderate and ultimately impractical policy. To create a real center, you need a real left.
In Canada, we watched as first Layton and then Mulcair positioned the New Democrats to the centre while the Liberals skulked to the centre-right. That meant the "real left" was abandoned, rendered defenceless, and with it the fulfilment of Stephen Harper's prime directive to permanently shift Canada's political centre well to the right. The Liberals and New Democrats were instrumental to Harper's success.