All of this writing and data analysis is a lot of work! So after more than five years of posting, I've finally launched a Patreon to help pay the bills.


Are Sanders supporters actually equating Elizabeth Warren with Hillary Clinton?

There's a curious tension in Liza Featherstone's new piece in Jacobin on Elizabeth Warren.


The global fight against climate change will cost trillions - not billions

While the reception to my Global Green New Deal paper with People's Policy Project was overwhelmingly positive, I noticed three trends that confirmed a longstanding suspicion:


The Global Green New Deal: Towards A Socialist Strategy

People’s Policy Project has published my proposal for funding international climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts through a Global Green New Deal. In it, I propose a strategy for securing $2 trillion every year from wealthy nations for the UN’s Green Climate Fund.

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive plan for fighting climate change. Nor does it address all of the challenges that the GGND is likely to encounter en route. This proposal is merely a first step in what I believe will be a series of fights for to enact a green agenda that is urgent, forceful, and just.

Here, I’d like to discuss how the Global Green New Deal establishes a strategic framework that socialists can use to fight for the future of our planet - and win.


Bernie Sanders should obviously campaign as a socialist

Last evening, Hamilton Nolan posted a thing rehearsing the old logic-nerd conventional wisdom that all communication must begin with definitions. He thinks that "Philosophers long ago realized" this, which is true if by philosophers we mean Ayn Rand and literally no philosopher of language post-Wittgenstein.

He then insists that we cannot have coherent conversations about socialism, since it is completely undefined - which is not to say that it is merely controversial, but that it offers "no recognizable basis from which to proceed to specifics." This, despite the fact that we have field studies showing remarkable continuity in people's ideas about socialism, even down to extremely detailed policy specifics, and despite the fact that his theory that "socialism" has no shared meaning at all is patently impossible.


What do people think socialism is?

It's usually pretty difficult to get good information about public attitudes towards socialism, but the past month has been a real watershed. First came a Gallup poll that I covered here which asked whether various political concerns should be managed by the government or the free market. Now comes a poll by Axios asking respondents what "a socialist system" means to them. The results, I think, are pretty intuitive, though they also send a mixed message to activists and intellectuals working within the historical socialist tradition.


The Tax Policy Center's dubious scholarship on who "deserves" welfare

Leonard Burman, in a new Tax Policy Center paper, argues for work requirements on welfare:
Political scientists have found ample evidence that people all over the world categorize people in terms of "deservedness" (Peterson et al. 2011; van Oorschot 2000, 2006). Most people are willing to help someone who is unlucky but are less eager to support someone who they perceive as lazy...Thus, a work-based tax credit would be much more likely to win public support than an unrestricted cash grant (such as UBI).
In my experience it's often a good idea to look at the scholarship people cite when they're trying to rationalize placing conditions on help for the poor, so I decided to take a look at the papers Burman refers us to.


It would be extremely good if the GOP moved left on economic issues

I do not actually think that the Republican party is moving left on economics. Judging by the caveat at the end of his latest piece - Tucker Carlson’s Praise for Elizabeth Warren Should Scare Democrats - I don't think Eric Levitz does, either.

Still, I think we should be clear about this: as the dysfunctions of liberal capitalism escalate and socialists articulate a clear, compelling alternative to laissez faire austerity, we should absolutely expect the popular consensus on economic questions to shift to the left. And we should want this to happen. We should want deregulation and tax cuts for the rich and attacks on organized labor and welfare to become so politically toxic that even our right-wing parties are afraid to touch it.


An early look at the Biden and Sanders coalitions

Voter coalitions in the Democratic primaries will probably shift significantly between now and when the voting starts, particularly as candidates drop out and voters adjust their calculations to the new political landscape. That said, it seems odd to suppose that current trends are going to completely reverse, and analyses based on actual polling are still much more legitimate than the kind of speculation and conjecture that has dominated talk about coalitions so far.


Can't beat capitalism with hashtags

The buzz around "Abolish ICE" - a slogan from the immigration justice movement that was taken up by journalists, media activists, and a handful of politicians for a few months last year - has entirely faded away. A couple of belated articles are all we have for the postmortem. By the 2018 elections, Democrats had "sprinted away" from the issue, Adam Edelman writes; in Buzzfeed, Molly Hensley-Clancy and Nidhi Prakash affirm that it "has been rejected entirely by the presidential contenders," and that it has remained "starkly unpopular with voters".