American Decline

The Bush Restoration

Predictably, Michael Lind once again gets it right. 100%. Although the main negative inherent in his analysis is one that he doesn’t mention. The trends he describes open the door for a return to power by the neocons. I have been concerned that we are presently in a “Jimmy Carter moment” that could be followed by a return of the Reaganite/supply-sider/neocon coalition that ruled America from 1980 to 2008 (they still controlled Congress during the Clinton era). It may be that Youngkin represents a coalition of economically conservative exurbanites and socially conservative rural voters that can work for the Republicans at the national level. And that means the return of the neocons who want a regime change war with Iran, not to mention the escalation of hostilities elsewhere. Of course, the good news is that the return of the neocons will likely hasten the collapse of the United States.

By Michael Lind, Tablet

Everybody has a hot take on the results of the nationwide elections on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Here’s mine: The elections prove the neoliberal restoration is proceeding apace.

By “restoration,” I mean the return to power of establishmentarian Republican-right neoliberals and Democratic-left neoliberals—who together comprise the American ruling elite—at the expense of Democratic progressives and Republican conservatives. Following the populist upheavals of 2016-2020, American politics is reverting to the pattern of 1992-2016, when moderate pro-business Democrats like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and moderate pro-business Republicans like the two Bushes alternated in power while squelching the voices of the American majority.

The mechanism by which this happens is the American two-party system. If you think of the factions in the two major parties as separate parties, then we have a de facto four-party system. From left to right, the parties are progressive Democrats, neoliberal Democrats, neoliberal Republicans, and conservative Republicans. While their donor bases are somewhat different, with tech and finance leaning toward Democrats while extractive industries are more Republican, both Democrat and Republican neoliberals are effectively two wings of one party: the neoliberal establishment uniparty. Neoliberal elites tend to move in the same establishment social circles and their children tend to go to the same Ivy League schools. Most of them would feel awkward talking to working-class people of any political persuasion who are not their servants.

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