Left and Right

Krystal Kyle & Friends | Freddie DeBoer

Political writer Freddie DeBoer joins us on Krystal Kyle & Friends this week. We lay out the arguments of his recent, wildly popular book The Cult of Smart before digging into the controversial claim he’s made lately in pieces like this one for the New York Times: Are leftists’ political programs really popular enough to win? If — as Freddie argues — they’re not, what do we do about it?

In his piece for the New York Times, Freddie points to the bitter pills the left has had to swallow in recent elections. Recently, Democratic nominee India Walton lost the Buffalo mayoral race to write-in candidate Byron Brown after beating him in the primary. More broadly, the political terrain of the American left has been substantially shaped by the two presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders, neither of which was successful in clinching the primary nomination. These losses, Freddie reasons, can’t be chalked up to election-rigging; they must be explained by the fact that neither Walton nor Sanders commanded the support of the voting base as well as their opponents.

From the article’s title — “Democratic Socialists Need to Take a Hard Look in the Mirror” — it’s clear that, for Freddie, these electoral losses pose a necessary chance for the Left to re-evaluate the popularity of its policies. Medicare for All, a Green New Deal: these planks of Sanders’s platform drove his campaign. So if the necessary number of voters failed to show up for those policies and their champion, where does that leave the leftist agenda?


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