“The Republicans Have Been Trumped” by Charlie Post

“For over eighty years, the reformist left in the United States has sought to transform one of the capitalist parties into a “people’s” party. Both the Communist Party’s popular front strategy and the social-democratic strategy of “realignment” (formulated by the brilliant ex-Marxist Max Shachtman) sought to transform the Democratic Party. The Democrats, through the 1950s, were a coalition of urban real estate developers, Jewish and Catholic capitalists and southern planters who enjoyed the voting support of northern industrial workers, black and white, middle-class liberals, and most southern whites. The reformists’ goal was to drive out the conservative, pro-capitalist elements—especially the Dixiecrats—leaving the labor officialdom and middle-class liberals to dominate a “labor-liberal” Party. As Paul Heideman pointed out in a recent essay in Jacobin,1 there was a realignment in the Democratic Party in the 1970s—but not the one the reformists hoped for. The southerners abandoned the Democrats for the Republicans, but with urban growth the non-WASP capitalists were joined by new capitalists in high technology and the media, and an increasingly neo-liberal urban middle class. Rather than becoming a labor-liberal party, the Democrats moved sharply right in the 1980s as the official leaders of the labor, civil rights, and women’s movements were marginalized.”

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