What Pete Buttigieg gets wrong about Bernie Sanders and the Democratic PartyRoundup
tags: politics, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg
Jim Sleeper is a lecturer in political science at Yale and the author of "Liberal Racism" (1997) and "The Closest of Strangers: Liberalism and the Politics of Race in New York" (1990).
With Chuck Schumer as its Senator from Wall Street and even Rep. Barney Frank countenancing Fanny Mae's backstopping of the subprime mortgage lending that accelerated the financial crisis, and Bill Clinton signing off on repealing constraints on buccaneer "investment" banking, it was establishment Democrats, not Bernie Sanders, who took a fateful step away from balancing capital and labor as fairly as they'd balanced them from World War II through the mid-1970s.
Like too many other Americans, Buttigieg and others who've carried or tolerated this compromised record will do almost anything but face the harsh truth that Democratic leaders' betrayal of working people is part of the reason why Donald Trump is president and Sanders is running so strongly among the betrayed. The concentration of corporate and financial power that the party abetted has driven our civic and political implosion's public massacres, its epidemic addictions and declines in life expectancy, its dispossession of millions of Americans from what they thought was homeownership, its mass incarceration, its massive scapegoating of immigrants, citizens of color, and, soon — mark my words — "the Jews," and its increasingly violent, degrading entertainments.
"Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, when wealth accumulates, and men decay," wrote Oliver Goldsmith in 1770. In 2010, the late Tony Judt made Goldsmith's aphorism the frontispiece of his book, "Ill Fares the Land." Democrats persisted in wordless denial.
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