Economics/Class Relations

Hell of Presidents

A reader offers an interesting description of this program:

In the latter third or so of this episode from the “Hell of Presidents” podcast (by Matt Christman and Chris Wade of the Chapo Trap House gang), they talk about the current moment in American electoral politics and where they think it might lead. Being the neo-Marxists they are, they basically come to the conclusion that if Obama was a kind of political thesis, with Trump being an antithesis, then the dialectical move would not be for the Democrats to attempt to put up another Obama as they tried to do in 2020 (like Kamala the lady Obama; or Buttigieg the gay Obama), but to combine the genuine starpower of an actually popular celebrity from outside of politics (they give the examples of Matthew McConaughey or Oprah Winfrey) with an anodyne commitment to “niceness” as the Democratic brand. And they surmise that it would be this smiling face of the party that could effectively take up the mantle of presiding over an increasingly techno-feudalist America, California Uber Alles style. The counterpoint to this scenario (which they raise) is that the Democrats would not do this as it would go against their own self-image as the “serious” party that cares about institutional legitimacy and adhering to norms, etc. But they may be forced into finding a celebrity if all they have left are mediocre, unlikable Kamala and Pete types after Biden.

I was struck by how this reflected several points you’ve brought up in your commentary over the past few years — techno-feudalism, California being a bellwether for the US as a whole, more and more celebrities running for office, etc. Of course, the Chapo guys’ idealized vision of a rebuttal to such a scenario is essentially just for a third political force to emerge from organized labor (first nationally and then internationally), which is old news. That said, Christman has also said on more than one occasion since the 2020 election that he thinks any further engagement in US politics at the national level to be futile, and that efforts should instead be focused on change at the local level.

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