Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What would an anti-Trump look like?

Then along came Donald Trump... The current GOP front-runner is advocating policies that represent the mirror-image extremism to the Left's race and identity-soaked politics. - David French
It's been amusing to watch the right decide how to best blame the left for Trump - is he, as French and Noah Rothman argue, the inevitable extreme-right reaction to liberal politics? Or is he actually himself an exemplar of liberalism, per the viral #tcot meme?

This is utter cynicism, of course, but it also reflects an atrophied public imagination that can no longer imagine what a radical leftist politician would look like. Some simple reminders: a radical leftist politician would call for

  • immediate and substantial reparations for Black, Hispanic and Native Americans.
  • immediate and substantial reparations to the international victims of American empire, EG the Philippines, most South American states, and so on.
  • forgiveness of all international debt.
  • massive international aid, on the order of trillions of dollars, to fight climate change, curable disease, starvation, and other global problems rooted in international inequality.
  • the immediate expropriation of wealth from the richest Americans.
  • the immediate nationalization of the banks, the health care industry, the transportation sector, the military-industrial complex, telecommunications, energy, and so on.
  • a pardon of most non-violent criminals and even some of the violent ones.
  • a universal withdrawal from all countries occupied by US military, including allies hosting US military bases.
  • absolute limits on carbon emissions across all sectors.
  • the abolition of the Presidency and the Senate.
  • the immediate subordination of all US governance to international law.
  • the universal and automatic unionization of all workers.
  • the guarantee of multiple welfare entitlements, including universal healthcare, education, childcare, leave, and some variation on basic income.
  • full 100% employment.
  • the unconditional imposition of expansive affirmative action quotas across a wide range of identities (race, gender, orientation, class, and so on).
This is an extremely incomplete list, and it's not even the most radical list you could come up with. For example, a significant number of leftists would not even accept as adequate the multiple redistributive programs listed above, and would call for the outright abolition of private property. Similarly, advocates of direct democracy would not even accept the survival of some "representative" legislative body like a redistricted House.

Yet even though this is modest, it is still light-years beyond the most radical agenda of the most radical candidates the Democratic Party ever runs. Not even Jill Stein proposes a platform this ambitious, much less candidates like Bernie Sanders or (lol) Hillary Clinton.

That the right, with a straight face, can blame Trump on leftist radicalism - and even go so far as to call him a leftist radical - just demonstrates how radicalized in their direction our politics have become. We are nowhere near seeing what hard left politics would look like in the United States.