Posted 135 days ago
Maybe one of the most telling quotes that Marantz cites is from Obama:
Through Clinton and even through how I thought about these issues when I first came into office, I think there was a residual willingness to accept the political constraints that we’d inherited from the post-Reagan era...Probably there was an embrace of market solutions to a whole host of problems that wasn’t entirely justified.
The last 50 years has been defined as the neoliberal era. After WWII, the New Deal era dominated with Big Government and important social and economic investment. But Marantz quotes Annette Gordon-Reed, a law professor at Harvard, saying that "since the Reagan era, many citizens have come to expect 'a government that can't do anything except cut taxes.'" As a global pandemic has rocked the world in the last year, it's clear that just cutting taxes won't do the job.
That is where the Justice Democrats come in; they are a group of younger politicians who want to push the Democratic Party further to the Left to fit into the current needs of society and what people are demanding. As Guido Girgenti, a member, says:
For as long as I’ve been old enough to be conscious of politics, all I’ve known is a Democratic Party that has defined itself as ‘We’re less bad than Republicans’...With J.D. and Sunrise, the starting point is more like, ‘If we as a society didn’t accept the busted logic of anti-government austerity, what would that allow us to do?'
They employ a form of left-leaning populist rhetoric that is described well in the book The Populist Explosion by John B. Judis. They are seeking to build coalitions around large swaths of the populace, from working people to progressivess to capitalist looking to build a more just society. And it's clear that it's working. Their candidates, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have won seats and are looking to change the dominant ideology of the party. Even thought they don't have a lot of electoral power at the moment, Marantz writes:
Electoral math aside, though, arguably the most notable thing about the debate between Lamb and Ocasio-Cortez was the fact that it happened at all. An uncontested ideology doesn’t have to justify itself. An ideology in crisis does.
And they have Nobel-laureat economists on their side that are looking to push new economic agendas that contrast with the past theories of the neoliberal era. Their strategy, which is to pull the center to the left, seems to be working at the moment and is indicative of political changes that have happened in the past.