Commentators often think that the threat to democracy comes from those who feel left behind – the ones who feel voiceless and vote accordingly. But what if the rise of populism was provoked, in part, by the growth of “a new managerial class” that rules the key institutions of society in its own favor? That is what Michael Lind, a co-founder of New America and a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, argues in his latest book, The New Class War. In this week’s episode of The Good Fight, Yascha Mounk and Michael Lind debate the dangers posed by the new managerial class, what kind of structural changes would be needed to contain populism, and the prospects for real change.
Who Is Fighting Whom? – The Good Fight with Yascha Mounk (Michael Lind)
Michael Lind really is one of the very best contemporary political scientists. He nails everything down perfectly in this:
-how the US is developing a Latin American-like class system,
-how Trump and Sanders resemble Latin American populism
-how Trump is essentially a Nelson Rockefeller Republican at heart, who works the Ross Perot angle for general audiences, and the Nixonian “southern strategy” angle for his hard-core base.
-how the real history of racial conflict is predominantly non-black vs black rather than black vs. white.
-how the centralization of state power under the presidency and the centralization of party leaderships are leading to civil war
-why the historic structure of the US labor movement guaranteed its long-term decline
-how the US is becoming more racially integrated but more politically and socioeconomically polarized
-he more or less affirms the same class analysis as Sam Francis and Joel Kotkin, i.e. Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and Wall Street allied with the professional-managerial class vs the sinking traditional working to middle class, along with the decline petite bourgeoisie.
-how Sandersism appeals to the lower PMC and overeducated, while Trumpism appeals to the sinking traditional middle.
-his solutions are pretty tame: a less powerful presidency, decentralization of the internal leadership of political parties, and cross-party alliances across class lines. That might be a very timid step in the right direction (kinda sorta) but count me skeptical.