I missed this few-weeks-old big Peter Beinart piece, The Rise of the New New Left , the first time around, and am linking it here mainly to see what y’all think about it.
Its most interesting aspects are a general “yes” to the above question, and an effort to present Bill de Blasio’s NYC Mayoral primary win as evidence.
As is typical with Beinart, there are some moments that strike conservatives as nearly insane, such as his idea that Elizabeth Warren could become a credible presidential candidate (I say insane, because at that level, the unresolved Pow-Wow-Chow cookbook plagiarism and fake-Indian scandals would resurface and kill her—the USA ain’t Massachusetts).
Still, he seems to be onto something. If a Warren-type without her scandal-baggage were to emerge, he or she would have a real shot. For one, I cannot but think that the same I-just-cannot-get-excited-about-Hillary situation that helped make Obama in ‘08 will produce similar dynamics in 2016.
In Beinart’s presentation, however, Obama wasn’t really a lefty, despite all his community-organizing, ACORN, and DSA background, but basically a Clintonian—he still had that “New Democrat” and “Third Way” chastening left by Reagan’s and Thatcher’s victories. But for millennials, the Reagan era was never experienced, and so they’re open to leaders like Warren and de Blasio who act as if it never happened. Open to Democratic Socialism— a poll Beinart references has slightly more than half of them supporting socialism over capitalism.
(BTW, current conservative triumphing about uncovering de Blasio’s Sandinista support is way premature and way tone-deaf to the 1980s situation from a Democratic perspective—all sorts of Dems were toying with levels of Sandinista support—and those commies were careful not to do too many Sendero Luminoso-like atrocities and Stasi-like oppressions—which isn’t to deny that Nicaragua would have wound up as oppressed as Cuba remains had the Sandinistas not been defeated.)
But anyway, do you think Beinart’s essay captures the political instincts of the millennial Dems, or is it, as lefty historian Michael Kazin suggests (H/T, RCP), simply a case of wishful lefty thinking?