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The New Republic assembled a panel of historians and veteran political observers to discuss Obama, Clinton, and Trump. I think you will find the discussion illuminating, or certainly interesting.
“TAKING THE LONG VIEW
THE PARTICIPANTS IN OUR FORUM ON OBAMA’S LEGACY
NELL IRVIN PAINTER is professor emerita at Princeton and the former president of the Organization of American Historians. Her most recent book is The History of White People.
ANNETTE GORDON-REED is a professor of law and professor of history at Harvard. She won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for her book The Hemingses of Monticello.
SARAH JAFFE, a fellow at the Nation Institute, is a journalist who reports on labor and social movements. She is the author of the new book Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt.
JOHN B. JUDIS, a former senior editor at the New Republic, is the author of The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics.
ANDREW SULLIVAN, a former editor of the New Republic, is a contributing editor at New York magazine. His most recent book is The Conservative Soul, on the future of the right.”
It begins like this:
“From the moment Barack Obama was elected in 2008, he began to disappoint those who had believed in his message of change. He appointed entrenched Washington insiders to his Cabinet. He put Wall Street bankers in charge of regulating Wall Street banks. He compromised with Republicans on the economic stimulus, slowing the recovery for millions of Americans. He refused to push for universal health care, and deported two million immigrants. He failed to shut down Guantanamo, dispatched another 60,000 troops to Afghanistan, and launched hundreds of drone strikes that killed countless civilians. Today, income inequality continues to rise, and big banks are bigger than ever, and student debt has hit a record $1 trillion. Democrats have not only lost control of every branch of the federal government, they are weaker at the state level than at any point since 1920. Those who thought they had elected a bold and inspiring populist were surprised to find him replaced by a cautious and deliberate pragmatist.
“Now, eight years later, many of Obama’s critics suddenly find themselves yearning for the euphoria that accompanied his election, and fearing for the small but significant progress he made on a host of fronts: equal pay, expanded health care, nuclear nonproliferation, global warming. It’s not just that hope and change have given way to fear and loathing—it’s that so few of us saw it coming. Right-wing extremists, it turns out, aren’t the only ones who live in a faith-based reality of their own making. From Brooklyn to Berkeley, American liberals have cocooned themselves in a soothing feedback loop woven from Huffington Post headlines, New York Times polls, and repeat viewings of Madam Secretary. If nothing else, Trump’s election demands that we return to the real world in all its complexities and contradictions, and confront our own obliviousness.”