A lot of people on the liberal/left end of the spectrum have to psychologically assume the role of the “permanent victim” because their whole worldview involves fighting “oppression” or “social injustice” so there always has to be oppression or social injustice for them to fight. Therefore, 11 white nationalists in the army suddenly means the Fourth Reich is just around the corner.
Actually, liberals have won virtually every social or cultural issue of the last 50 years: civil rights, feminism, gay rights, abortion rights, abolishing the draft, 18-year-olds voting. The demography of the US is becoming more diverse. Institutions are becoming more integrated (the military is the most integrated institution of all except maybe prison). Organized religion is losing its influence. The transgender movement is growing. Weed is being legalized in more and more places. Support for social democratic economic policies is rising. Environmentalism is popular. Overt racism is socially unacceptable. The sexual revolution has become the norm. Republicans have lost the popular vote in every election in the past quarter century except 2004. Antiwar sentiment is high. The political left has taken over universities. Most of the media trends left of center.
The death penalty is increasingly being called into question. There is growing support for criminal justice reform. Even ideas that would have been considered far-out extremism not long ago like slavery reparations are now increasingly on the table. Even some of the recent wars have been backyard fistfights compared to Vietnam, Korea, WW2, WW1 or the Civil War.
What do they actually expect? When I point all of this out many liberals and leftists basically reply with “But it’s not utopia! And Trumptards are dragging their feet!”
I do agree there are ways in which the US moved rightward in recent decades, mostly on economic policy, i.e. replacing the New Deal paradigm with neoliberalism. Some of the criminal justice policies enacted in the 80s and 90s heightened state repression in certain ways, as did terror war laws following 9-11. The 2nd Amendment survives over the objections of liberals but they just need to realize that gun culture is just an endemic American tradition like the 4th of July and its’ not going away.
I would also agree that the actual hard left (Marxists, socialists, an-coms, syndicalists, Che Guevara-like Third World nationalists) are no more popular than they ever were, perhaps much less so. But that’s not going to change. America is and always was a classical liberal nation rooted in the legacy of the Puritan/Protestant work ethic/Virginia Company commercial culture, and that’s not going to change either. Even American socialism would be more like Benjamin Tucker’s cooperative individualism that Marxism.
The future of the USA is going to look like what California is now. A very “liberal,” multicultural society where the left-wing of the capitalist class and upper middle/professional class has gotten the upper hand politically, but where there are enormous socioeconomic disparities and class stratification. “Conservatives” as we now understand them will be a regional opposition force in rural areas and deep red zones (like they are in the eastern counties in California or the rural areas of Oregon and Washington state).
However, political and economic power is becoming increasingly concentrated on the global scale, and as American decline continues a more multipolar world will develop, and that a de facto global government is emerging in the form of global capitalist hegemony. In the future, global capitalism will be the world government with different regional powers comprising its constituent parts.
I think Hardt and Negri’s general analysis is correct with the additions that American decline will lead to greater multipolarity among the constituent regional powers of the global capitalist empire, and that both the empire and the regional powers will be challenged by the ongoing growth of 4th generation warfare.