Peter Beinart presents an objective and thorough analysis of America’s millennial left. It’s refreshing to read something this precise. He takes the time to define “old politics” in both Republican and Democratic terms, and to defend his designation of a “new generation.” Finally, he uses survey results to show what the new generation thinks.
Obviously, the new left is bad news for Republicans, but Beinart also has some surprises for Democrats. The leading candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, is at risk of being “old left.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren seems younger in this sense – younger, even, than young Republicans like Paul Ryan. We are reminded of Jeremiah on identity politics.
Right-wing populism generally requires rousing white, Christian, straight, native-born Americans against Americans who are not all those things.
The Republican party, Beinart says, has grown dependent on the xenophobia of a shrinking demographic group. The left wing of the Republican party – if there is such a thing – is represented by Libertarians like Rand Paul. He is against foreign wars and the Federal Reserve, and strictly in favor of individual rights. Unfortunately for Sen. Paul, he is also white, Christian, straight, and male.
No one will mourn the passing of “social conservatives,” but we are a little concerned about the young generation’s lurch toward socialism. The Republicans have not made a case for free enterprise, and so that task may fall to Mrs. Clinton.
What do you tell a young person with no prospects, a useless diploma, and college debt? They say the system is broken. Jeremiah would like to say that the system is broken because it is not actually a free enterprise system. The housing bubble, the student loan bubble, and the jobless recovery are all due to government intervention. What is broken is the big lie of socialism, that government can take care of you.
How do you tell that to the new left? You can’t. That kind of knowledge only comes from experience. God help them.