Friday, December 13, 2019


If Jonathan Chait's headline had begun with the word "Some," it would have been an honest appraisal of progressive thought. Leaving out the word "Some," of course, made it much better clickbait:
American Leftists Believed Corbyn’s Inevitable Victory Would Be Their Model
Which American leftists? None I read regularly, one I see occasionally on TV. No one I know personally believed this. In the days before the British election, I saw some hopes for an indecisive vote and a hung Parliament -- I don't know anyone who thought Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party was on the verge of an electoral triumph, much less that the 2019-model Corbyn was a model for the American left.

And in fact, of the half-dozen pieces Chait quotes to demonstrate the left's Corbyn delusions, only one was published this year. All the others came from 2017, the year Corbyn and his party exceeded expectations at the ballot box, or 2016. Two of the six pieces are by U.S.-based Brits, not "American leftists"; one piece, by The Washington Post's James Downie, uses Labour's 2017 platform to make a point about boldness of ideas as much as about leftism:
If liberals are to succeed in the United States and elsewhere, they need high turnout, and especially high youth turnout. To do so, they need enthusiasm. Corbyn, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others who have succeeded at this don’t possess some mysterious charisma unavailable to everyone else. Unlikely voters will not be convinced to turn out for “the country is already great!” or other vague platitudes. They will come out for real solutions to their problems, whether those solutions are centrist, liberal, conservative or (perish the thought!) socialist.
(Emphasis added.)

The world is full of takes. Chait chose six, most of them years old. They're not representative.


Corbyn's defeat may be a cautionary tale about leftism for Americans -- or it might just be a sign that Democrats shouldn't choose an extraordinarily unpopular person as a presidential nominee. Simply put, there's no one in the Democratic field with negatives like these:

If anyone comes close in this election, it's Trump:

I'm not saying that Trump will necessarily lose. I'm saying that the Democrats are highly unlikely to nominate the more unpopular candidate in 2020, regardless of that candidate's ideology. Most Americans lothe Trump. They don't regard reelecting him as the steadier course for the nation.

They may be persuaded that the economy is good and you might as well stick with the devil you know, but it's not inevitable that history will repeat.

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