Calling Trump to Account with Sticks and Stones, and Words As Well

Andrew Levine in CounterPunch:

The Trump years have transformed the Greater Evil Party, formerly known as the GOP, into a party too appalling even to contemplate without going berserk. Alarmists expected all sorts of bad things to come from the Trump presidency, but no one quite expected this. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has sprouted a left wing too extensive and organized for that wretched party’s leaders and donors to marginalize. Even after the Occupy movements of 2011 and the Sanders campaign in 2016, this too was unexpected. It is also, by far, the best thing that has happened in American politics in decades. It probably would not have happened but for Trump. Who would have expected that? Who could have imagined that his unmitigated vileness and his incompetence would have had that unintended effect? It did, though. And so, calls for social policies comparable to those achieved in advanced social democracies a half century ago have become almost mainstream. More amazing still, thanks to Trump more than anyone else, the word “socialism” need no longer be uttered only in whispers in Democratic Party circles.

To be sure, the “democratic socialism” championed by Bernie Sanders, and now by a dozen or so “squad” and squad-like House members, and also, implicitly, by a handful of Senators as well, is linked to progressive strains of mid- and late-twentieth century social democratic politics more in spirit than genealogy. It is essentially an up-dated version of New Deal-Great Society liberalism. Calling it “socialism” can therefore be misleading and even counter-productive in a political culture in which capitalists and capitalist ideologues have expended a great deal of effort and treasure over the past century and a half with a view to assuring that the very word would bear negative connotations.

More here.