U.S. Politics and Public Policy

What the Media and Team Clinton Fail to Understand About Sanders’ “Some Days” Critique of Clinton’s Progressive Credentials. Why One Reporter’s Tweet Bolsters His Point. And Why That Explains Sanders’ Rise.

So much has been made about the latest kerfuffle regarding Sen. Bernie Sanders’ criticism against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week that questioned her progressive bona fides. And much of the framing of it—by those in the media and inside Team Clinton’s camp—accuse Sen. Sanders of engaging in progressive purism as a supposedly self-appointed gatekeeper of what constitutes progressivism. However, when one listens to Sanders’ criticisms toward Clinton as well as gauge the pulse of the driving zeitgeist in the Democratic Party this year, one of the most glaring dynamics pulsating throughout the primary fight is the grassroots…

Why Looking at the Numbers Behind Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Recent Win Bodes Well for Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Run

At the Canadian magazine Maclean’s, its Ottawa bureau chief John Geddes penned an insightful article unpacking the recent Canadian federal election by the numbers. Digging deep into the data, Geddes discovered a crucial factor that contributed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party‘s victory on October 19. That factor was Trudeau and his party’s ability to expand the electorate.  Geddes points out several crucial statistics that highlight the magnitude of Trudeau and the Liberals’ successful efforts in expanding the Canadian electorate that led to their landslide victory this fall (emphases and italics added): The total number of Canadians who voted on Oct.…

Bernie Sanders’ First TV Ad Campaign: Its “Conviction Politician” Theme and Why It Matters

This past Sunday, the presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders announced that it would be airing its first ads in Iowa and New Hampshire starting this Tuesday (to a tune of around $2 million). Its inaugural ad is called “Real Change.” Now, the $2 million political advertising blitz by the Sanders presidential campaign is effective on several fronts. The ads are effective insofar that they spotlight his biography (a compelling introduction of “who” Sanders is to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire who may be unfamiliar with him); highlight his executive and legislative accomplishments as both mayor of Burlington, Vermont and…

Clinton and Sanders: Two Theories of Change—And Why Both Will Be Critical for Post-Obama Liberalism in an Era of Conservative Hyper-Obstruction

If there’s one big takeaway from the Democratic debate last week is that the two leading candidates to be the party’s presidential standard-bearer in 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, spent a dearth of time in outlining an effective pathway for progressive governance in the face of GOP hyper-obstruction. Now, the reasons for this glaring inadequacy, on the part of both candidates, on how they would practically solve the right-wing obstructionism gripping the Beltway to get effective governance—let alone liberal reforms—”moving again” are myriad. The reasons include the format of the debate, the scope of the moderator’s…

Why the Battle Over SEIU’s Possible Endorsement of Hillary Clinton is Emblematic of the Dire Challenges Facing Unions in the Democratic Party

Recently, Politico reported that Bernie Sanders supporters, within the SEIU, petitioned their union’s international executive board to hold off in endorsing any candidate for they fear the board might come out for Hillary Clinton. On its surface, this story would be just another news item of the jockeying between pro-Sanders and pro-Clinton supporters, within a union, as to which candidate received its prize endorsement during this primary season. However, the Politico report is more than that. The news item chronicles a situation representing an emblematic challenge facing the broader trade union movement itself. Specifically, how does the labor movement flex its political…

The Bernie Sanders Campaign’s Handling of Diversity Outreach Could Cost Sanders the Democratic Presidential Primary Nomination

For some people of color who are committed supporters of Bernie Sanders‘ candidacy to become the Democratic Party’s presidential standard-bearer in 2016, it’s been a disconcerting experience observing his campaign’s less-than-stellar outreach to their racially diverse communities. Although Sanders, by far, has put out one of the most forward-thinking policies on racial justice (the other being Martin O’Malley‘s, in particular his robust criminal justice reform proposals)—a vital, important first step—that does not, however, compensate for the fact that the Vermont senator’s efforts to deepen ties to the large voting blocs of Asian-Pacific Islander, African-American, Latino, and other communities of color in the Democratic…

Why Liberalism-as-Snark’s Condescending Sneers Toward Trump Supporters are Woefully Misplaced

One of the most troubling aspects with some online elements that pass for liberalism or progressivism these days is an attitudinal condescension, at best, or mocking contempt, as worst, toward some supporters of Donald Trump, in particular his working class devotees. (Which also, unfortunately, exposes an off-putting, often times unconscious classicism from some liberals.) It is a tendency this article calls “liberalism-as-snark.” Now, by and large the progressive critique against Trump has been thoughtfully on point. However, there is, from time to time, a level of condescending smugness toward some of Trump’s followers that generalizes them as nothing more than being a bunch of…

Blog-itis Interruptus

Due to several computer and website issues, The American Liberal Review was offline for two-and-a-half months. Our apologies for the inconvenience. The blog is now up and running, and ready to resume.           (Photo: Computer keyboard. Photo by Ericnvntr on Flickr licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 license. Photo used in this article slightly cropped by the post’s author.)

Of Political Values and Vision: An Introduction to The American Liberal Review and Its Mission

The American Liberal Review’s mission is to promote a political worldview steeped in the inspiring tradition of reform and achievement: progressive liberalism. (Sometimes known, in some circles, as a broadly inclusive democratic left-liberalism, or in Europe, as social liberalism.) It is a worldview that arose out of a public philosophy of enlightened reform and social progress that animated three significant, reform-oriented political epochs of great historical importance: American Progressivism at the turn of the last century, British New Liberalism of the Edwardian era, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal liberalism of the 1930s. Progressive liberalism is a reformist political…

International News

Justin Trudeau’s Victory in Canada and Its Lesson for Center-Left Parties Worldwide: Win By Going Progressive, Keynesian Bold and Ditching Third Way’s Austere Fiscal Conservatism

For much of their modern history, especially during the postwar years of the 20th century, center-left parties (whether under the political banner of social liberalism or social democracy) have confidently advocated for progressive economics. Specifically, these parties embraced the expansionary fiscal policies of Keynesianism with its countercyclical focus on demand management through constructive deficit spending during times of economic contraction to keep the economy humming. However, with the string of electoral defeats suffered by center-left parties during the 1980s brought about, in part, by the ascendancy of Reaganism and Thatcherism that paved the way for the neoliberal revolution, these parties during the 1990s came to…

The Transatlantic Left Moment: The Rise of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, and the Unraveling of the Washington-Westminster Neoliberal Center

One of the most remarkable transatlantic political developments this year has been the surprising rise of two unabashedly left-wing insurgent—initially longshot—campaigns that have upset the establishment sensibilities of the Washington-Westminster neoliberal center: Bernie Sanders‘s campaign in the Democratic presidential primary and Jeremy Corbyn‘s race in the Labour Party leadership election. The reactions by the neoliberal centrist grandees in the Democratic and Labour parties toward the emergence of Sanders and Corbyn have included, among others, not-too subtle, modern-day form of soft red-baiting, and demeaning insults and over-the-top rhetoric. And in some instances the reactions have veered ingloriously into the territory of strident paroxysms, in…