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Fri Feb 1, 2013, 10:22 PM

Left 3.0: The Extraordinary Transformation of the Democratic Party

The left side of the American political spectrum has undergone an extraordinary transformation over the past dozen years. Perhaps because it remains a work in progress, the extent of this transformation has gone largely unremarked and seems underappreciated even among those who have been carrying it out. Forty years after the forces of the “New Left” managed to deliver the Democratic presidential nomination to their preferred candidate, George McGovern, only to see him lose the general election to Richard Nixon in a 49-state landslide, the United States is home to a newer Left. Its political hopes repose not in a man able to muster less than 40 percent of the vote nationwide, but in the convincingly reelected president of the United States, Barack Obama. This newer Left is confident in itself, united both in its description of the problems the country faces and in how to go about addressing them. This Left is conscious of itself as a movement, and believes it is on the rise. It has already managed to reshape American politics, and its successes so far have hardly exhausted its promise. Policies are changing under its influence. And its opponents do not seem to have found an effective way to counter it politically.

It’s beyond my purpose here to explore the history of the Left in American and its relation to American electoral politics. One story is its ideological evolution, from the socialists and anarchists of the early twentieth century, through the battles of the communist and anti-communist Left of mid-century, on to the birth of the New Left in the turbulent 1960s, through the quiescence of the Left during the period of neoliberal (i.e., conservative) dominance for the generation following the election of Ronald Reagan. Or one could tell the story in terms of the progressive movement at the end of the nineteenth century, through fdr’s New Deal, to lbj’s Great Society, on through the primary challenge Sen. Ted Kennedy launched against Jimmy Carter, its failure, and Bill Clinton’s emergence as a “New Democrat” distinct from the old liberal partisans of an expansive role for the federal government.

Both stories, however, come together with the emergence of the newer Left — call it Left 3.0, tracing the ideological progression from old Left to New Left to today’s newer Left. Left 3.0 is not only an ideological movement, but also effectively controls (or rather guides) a political party fully competitive at the national level. Left 3.0 is an entity whose internal divisions are minuscule in comparison to the shared convictions that hold it together. Left 3.0 is a creature of its times, well-organized and fully synced to the digital culture out of which it emerged. And Left 3.0 has come into its own at a time, not coincidentally, when its political rival, the gop electoral coalition, already under strain because of shifting demographics, is deeply divided over vexing social issues on which Left 3.0 offers clear answers.


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Reply Left 3.0: The Extraordinary Transformation of the Democratic Party (Original post)
Redfairen Feb 2013 OP
DonCoquixote Feb 2013 #1
RainDog Feb 2013 #2
fasttense Feb 2013 #4
RainDog Feb 2013 #7
bemildred Feb 2013 #6
Doctor_J Feb 2013 #8
msongs Feb 2013 #3
Doctor_J Feb 2013 #5
Lydia Leftcoast Feb 2013 #10
woo me with science Feb 2013 #9
Lydia Leftcoast Feb 2013 #11
woo me with science Feb 2013 #12
Douglas Carpenter Feb 2013 #13
RainDog Feb 2013 #14
RainDog Feb 2013 #19
Bill USA Feb 2013 #15
Bill USA Feb 2013 #16
RainDog Feb 2013 #17
Bill USA Feb 2013 #18

Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 11:01 PM

1. warning

We need to be sure that if Hillary runs in 2016, she will NOT get the old DLC left. Her missions is to KILL left 3.0 before it can threaten the wealth of her friends Huffington and Lynn Evelyn de Rothschild,.

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 11:47 PM

2. this author isn't all that great

Last edited Sat Feb 2, 2013, 04:48 PM - Edit history (2)

but the article is interesting to read as an exercise in self-justification.

for someone to talk about the left "flirting with Nietzsche" and then fail to explain what this means - because it could mean many things - that's a problem the author should not allow to stand.

when someone makes such statements without grounding them, anything the author says after is that much less likely to have merit in the eyes of the reader (who isn't already inclined to agree with whatever assumptions the author is bringing to the piece... so, maybe it's a dog whistle I've never heard.)

Another problem with the article is the author's insistence on separating "rights movements" and "identity politics" as somehow apart from the group of people with which these are identified. Women voted with one party rather than another because that party included their concerns in their platform. If the other party fails to do this, then "the left" will self-select and "the right" will continue to define itself in opposition to some amorphous "the left," when the reality is that "the left" is the majority of the population of the United States.

It's a silly rhetorical trick that doesn't work if you don't already subscribe to the idea that a dick gives you more rights in this world, for instance.

And the "conservative era" would not have existed as it did if not for treasonous acts on the part of Reagan trying to win an election by undermining the then current govt's negotiations... But the Reagan era was the result of a climate of fear that was created by the politicians themselves, as far as any threat to Americans was concerned. That and people wanted to beat up Iran because of the aftermath of years of colonization with the torture and invasion of privacy, etc. that the Shah meant to the Iranian people. But all that was lost on Americans because few cared to know Iran existed until embassy personnel were taken hostage.

It seems much more realistic to note that Bush Jr. and Cheney were HUGE FAILURES in regard to foreign policy with the epic disaster of the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent TORTURE codified as legitimate statecraft. This undermined Americans' views of Republicans as anything other than rapid dogs. Of course, those who didn't buy the b.s. were the first to come to this view, but, as the 30% approval and the hiding of the previous administration during the last two presidential campaigns indicates - Republicans know Americans don't have a very positive view of them at this time. Individual republicans - yes. Party - hell no.

Because the nation has moved so much farther to the left than the Republican Party, they have had to pander to some of the most vile, racist, homophobic and sexist people on this planet to win public office.

Sure, I can acknowledge they have some legitimate points. They're scared shitless because no one wants them to have power. They're scared shitless others will treat them like they have been treated.

The American public is farther to the left than President Obama on just about every issue of importance.

So, really, the point seems to be - what use is the Republican Party when there's already a classic liberal (i.e. conservative in the world's understanding) party that both continues policies from prior harder right regimes while, at the same time, embracing the social inclusiveness of equal RIGHTS (not flat equality, which this guy seems to think is the logical progression, but it's not, not if the goal is a balance of interests - public/private freedom/security wealth/compassion...)

So, it's like the right is battling strawmen (sic) of their own making in order to convince themselves they have some relevance.

But when a party admits it has to tamper with elections via gerrymandering and electoral college schemes to win - that's a party that is not invited to sit at the table of democracy any longer.

It's time for them to go the way of the Know Nothings. (oh, now the author will say I'm saying he's ignorant - I'm not, or stupid- I'm not.) However, if you're shilling for a group you know is setting out to perform electoral coup d'etats - I guess I'm saying that falls into the third category in the article.

I wish it were true that Obama was the leader of the left 3.0, because that would mean he didn't really just make a deal with religious institutions to allow their superstitions to take precedence over the right to individual freedom, even for people with a uterus.

The right wrongly assumes that the left does not have a strong personal freedom conviction as part of its ethos. The whole idea of a political "multiverse" is to avoid coercion into some pre-conceived idea of another person based upon tradition, because tradition in American society, and elsewhere, is also the basis for racism, sexism and colonialism.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 08:03 AM

4. Good analysis Raindog


This current crop of Democrats and the last crop from the Clinton Presidency are stop gaps. They are there to slow down and stop true progressive change and NOT lead it or embrace it. They are no more than moderate RepubliCONS put into power by the corporate state to stop and slow down the will of We The People. Their pretense at being liberal or progressive is necessary in order to keep We The People from rioting in the streets. It gives the people a false sense of success to think they have elected someone who will work for their interests and NOT the interest of the corporations.

The agonizingly slow implementation of Insurance for all to deal with health care access is a perfect example. Little, itty, bitty steps to give most (but of course not all) people some access to some health care. But if this had NOT passed people would have been rioting in the streets over the severe restrictions on access to health care. The moderate RepubliCON Obama (his own words) lifted the steam valve to relieve some pressure. But the impossibly convoluted Insurance program for health care access will eventually put up the same kind of barriers that we started with because the federal government's role as the enforcer of laws and regulations has been usurped by the whim of corporate greed. So when every Insurance corporation gets a waiver to almost every requirement in the new health care bill, we will be right back where we started from.

But in the meantime, some of the pressure was relieved, and most people were NOT protesting in the streets. President Obama, mission accomplished.

And that is why Al Gore accepted the theft of the presidency from him by W and the Dancing Supremes. It kept people from rioting or protesting in the streets. Which is the ultimate goal of a "Good" Democratic President.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 03:48 PM

7. This goes back to FDR and his vps

Last edited Sun Feb 3, 2013, 09:20 PM - Edit history (1)

Henry Wallace was replaced by Truman as vp because Wallace was too far to the left - he had no qualms with the idea of democratic socialism.

Most Americans prefer that form of govt, when they don't know what the name of that govt might be, as Dan Ariely found in his study of economic disparity and preferred forms of economic distribution in a population. The right wing's constant harping about tax fear causes cognitive dissonance for Americans - they know what they want, but they're afraid to tax rich people because they somehow think that will hurt them - when the opposite is true.

Anyway, Wallace was too much of a lefty so Truman was the face of the Democratic party that followed FDR.

Racism really allowed the Republican Party to gain traction after JFK.

The guy who wrote this and other conservatives just don't want to admit that people rightly see them as racist and sexist and want nothing to do with that bullshit. Their policies reinforce racism and sexism. They try to pretend they don't. People don't believe them.

Even tho Gore didn't fight the theft of the presidency, that moment galvanized A LOT of people who would've remained on the cynical sidelines, including me. No good came of that moment.

No good came from pardoning Nixon, either.

Politics at the federal level is about maintaining an elite with the power/money to operate within small parameters that continue to reward them for those policies. This has been the truth in American politics since the beginning.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 10:35 AM

6. I agree, the OP is comforting business as usual fairy dust. nt

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Response to RainDog (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 10:25 AM

8. Excellent analysis


the article that generated the OP is a right-wing fantasy, painting a cartoonish portrait of thhe Big Red Menace posed by those who favor universal health care, deep Pentagon cuts, and equitable tax structures. And the current DC Dems don't even come close to representing us. The only thing we're "unified" on is that the current Republicans are far worse.

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 03:07 AM

3. most of the democratic party is center-RIGHT. it only looks liberal because repubs are so FAR right.

"moderate republican" did not used to be a democratic party family value

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 08:56 AM

5. The Hoover Institute is a far right propaganda factory


Here are some of the front page links

ObamaCare's Broken Promises

Fed Policy Is a Drag on the Economy

Time to Chill Out on Global Warming

It is also clear that the author of this piece is a clueless shit-stirrer. I am going to alert the post.

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #5)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:18 PM

10. You beat me to it--The Hoover Institute is home to such "lefties" as Condolezza Rice.

Anything they say is bound to be corporate propaganda.

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:07 PM

9. Corporatist propaganda,

pathetically trying to redefine the word, "Left."

They keep trying to repackage right-wing shit. It still stinks.

Corporate and bank-cozy appointments, over and over again
Bailouts and settlements for corrupt banks (with personal pressure from Obama to attorneys general to approve them),
Refusal to prosecute even huge, egregious examples of bank fraud (i.e, HSBC)
NDAA to allow indefinite detention,
"Kill lists" and claiming of the right to assassinate even American citizens without trial
Maintaining Guantanamo Bay and the Patriot Act,
Expansion of wars into several new countries
A renewed public support for the concept of preemptive war
Drone campaigns in multiple countries with whom we are not at war
Proliferation of military drones in our skies
Federal targeting of Occupy for surveillance and militarized response to peaceful protesters
Fighting all the way to the Supreme Court for warrantless surveillance
Fighting all the way to the Supreme Court for strip searches for any arrestee
Internet-censoring and privacy-violating measures like ACTA and the new CISPA-like executive order
Support for corporate groping and naked scanning of Americans seeking to travel
A new, massive spy center for warrantless access to Americans' phone calls, emails, and internet use
Support of legislation to legalize such spying
Militarized police departments, through federal grants
Marijuana users and medical marijuana clinics under assault,
Skyrocketing of the budget for prisons.
Supporting a bipartisan vote in Congress to gut more financial regulations.
Passionate speeches and press conferences promoting austerity for Americans, while the
Bush tax cuts were extended for billionaires.
Support for the payroll tax holiday, tying SS to the general fund
Support for the vicious chained CPI cut in Social Security and benefits for the disabled
Social security, Medicare, and Medicaid offered up as bargaining chips in budget negotiations, with no mention of cutting corporate welfare or the military budget
Multiple new free trade agreements, including The Trans-Pacific, otherwise known as "NAFTA on steroids."
Growth of the power of lobbyists to prevent government regulation of corporations.
Support of drilling, pipelines, and selling off portions of the Gulf of Mexico
Corporate education policy including high stakes corporate testing and closures of public schools

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #9)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:20 PM

11. In any country other than this one, the Obama administration would be considered

center-right or even just plain right-wing.

They're better on more visible issues, but when it comes to the stuff happening behind the scenes, it's business as usual, big favors for the corporate world and the military-industrial complex, crumbs for the rest of us.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #11)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:26 PM

12. +1 The system is captured. The Dems are corporatists, too.

All this political talk is irrelevant unless and until the people stand up and demand the corporate influence out of our government and our elections.

That is the one single issue we should be focused on.

The next elections will not mean a thing in the absence of such changes. We will get two more corporate candidates, and more of the same.

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:29 AM

13. keeping in mind this is written By and for the very conservative Hoover Institute at Stanford- it is

well worth reading in full. Of course I don't agree with some of the broad assumptions. The author is a conservative - but nonetheless, one who is making within the context of his worldview - an honest attempt at intellectual honesty. I doubt that the author understands that Left 3.0 is essentially the old moderate, to moderate conservative to moderate liberal wing of the old Grand Old Republican Party that has largely migrated and reconfigured itself in the Democratic Party - But I doubt many Democrats understand that either. But keeping in mind that this is a conservative article written for conservative minds - it is within that context an amazingly perceptive article that should be read in full.


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Response to Douglas Carpenter (Reply #13)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:23 PM

14. the problem with such folks

Last edited Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:54 PM - Edit history (1)

is that they fail to appreciate the difference b/t systemic issues and personal ones.

The reality is that our society is sexist. This has been demonstrated empirically in various ways many times.

The example that really made this stand out, for me, was the blind orchestra auditions.


If people auditioned behind a curtain so that those judging their performances didn't know if the musician were male or female, the numbers of women who were chosen increased dramatically- based upon MERIT that conductors, etc. claimed they did not have. But the conductors were just being sexist, and, honestly, they were following the socially construed sexism that is encoded in western intellectual and religious history - the bg garbage of life that all of us hear.

Using data from audition records, the researchers found that blind auditions increased the probability that a woman would advance from preliminary rounds by 50 percent. The likelihood of a woman's ultimate selection is increased several fold, although the competition is extremely difficult and the chance of success still low.

The person who wrote this dismisses the REALITY OF LIVED EXPERIENCE of people of color, women, homosexuals... and sneers at the idea that traditional racism, sexism and homophobia should be addressed by the ONE BODY - the govt. whose job it is to continue to press to make the ideas of the constitution reality rather than rhetoric for more than 50% of the population.

If it were up to business, the U.S. would still be a segregated society. What started desegregation? The military and the experience of WWII. What made southern law so repulsive that both Republicans and Democrats had to send out National Guard troops to hold back the slimy sick shits who killed in order to make it impossible for black Americans to vote. Tradition.

So, honestly, I was trying to be nice about it, but this person is a clueless jerkoff who gets paid for this drivel? Sign me up and let's stir some shit, Toddy.

Because this "superiority" that Tod claims the left believes about themselves is, in fact, a belief in reality and our ability to measure this and try to deal with problems in ways that do the least harm and the most good. He also wrongly claims that the Democratic Party and the left are one. He's wrong. The reality is that people like him are what fuel the Democratic Party because the option that can get funding and tv time is so repulsive to anyone who does not kowtow to the great intellectual wasteland that is the Republican Party platform.

A much more meaningful essay would've looked at the re-alignment of people after the civil rights act and a question to the Republicans about their willingness to engage in massive voter suppression as legitimate politics. If Republicans don't want the rest of the world to see them as racists, THEY SHOULD STOP ACTING LIKE RACISTS.

Progress means we will not regress to Jim Crow and the putrid religious beliefs of some people - no matter if they are the majority of people in this nation - because RIGHTS are not up for a vote - they are intrinsic as a citizen of this nation. They're our birthright.

Of course, we know that rights are put up to a vote all the time - but this doesn't legitimize the taking away of them. Instead, it underscores how outside of every modern western political group the Republican Party is, other than fascists, and they coddle them here too.

Republicans are now seen as the party of obstruction. They're like a bunch of unreconstructed sexists and racists who hide behind religion to justify them taking a breath, because, otherwise, no one wants the shit they are peddling.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #14)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 09:41 PM

19. here's a good history of conservatism

that looks at the very issue I mentioned (A much more meaningful essay would've looked at the re-alignment of people after the civil rights act and a question to the Republicans about their willingness to engage in massive voter suppression as legitimate politics. If Republicans don't want the rest of the world to see them as racists, THEY SHOULD STOP ACTING LIKE RACISTS.)


This author explains the roots of current conservatism in the states rights arguments of the civil war era, and the way in which Eisenhower, who came before these movement conservatives, could tell the difference between "limited govt," and policies that were de facto racist. Again Eisenhower came out of the military and saw the work African-Americans had done in the war - and saw the treatment they received when they returned home.

He also explains the rationale of current right wing "nullification" tactics (or attempts to keep others from voting) that was grounded in racist political philosophy of the 1800s as well.

The good news is that this conservative in this article agrees that the current Republican Party is a dead man walking.

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:57 PM

15. he says Obama is the "member in chief" of "the new left 3.0" ... really? Then his Left 3.0 is

moderate Republicanism.

This guy is a typical conservative. A formalist thinker, who like all conservatives, clings to the hope of being able to fit reality into very formal, rigid definitions (rendered to meet his needs). In the real World, you can't proceed from formal definition to reality. Reality, as they say.. 'rules'. If you don't want to be left in your little bubble, as conservatives consistently are, you must start with observations and formulate any definitions you arrive at on a functional, empirical basis. Otherwise, sooner than later, reality is going to come around and smack you in the ass.

Conservatives keep telling themselves they can control reality with there little classifications and definitions, which they hold to regardless of what open minded observation would tell them.

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:34 PM

16. I really hate to waste any time on this would-be profound thinker, but his writing and thinking is

slipshod but worse it's shot through with bullshit. He states: ..

"The most important innovation of the Left, a principle held fast from the time of the French Revolution onward, has been its insistence that political rights could only be meaningful if accompanied by a degree of economic equality that systems based on political rights alone would not automatically create or protect. Thus, the Left finds the most important element on its agenda: the achievement of a greater degree of economic equality by means of politics."

He says "the most important innovation of the Left" (I presume he's talking about the relatively recent American Left) and continues to say: "a principle held fast from the time of the French revolution"... what, the Left's 'innovation' is a principle that has a lineage back to the Freanch revolution?? .... and this is an innovation of the AMerican Left??? What a slurry of nonsense. That whole sentence should be red-lined.

But, let's let the illogical rhetoric slide to address more egregious errors of his analysis and understanading of the "Left". He says the Left's objective is "economic equality" ... in other words, today's left has the same objectives as Marx and Lenin. Bullshit. What the Left wants is equality of OPPORTUNITY. It's up to each individual to do with that equal opportunity what he wants and is dependent upon how hard he is willing to work for it! He is trying to equate the modern Left (or FDRs left) with communism. an old game with conservatives, and total bullshit.

There is more nonsense and bad writing but this guy is definitely not worth the time.

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Response to Bill USA (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:33 AM

17. Thank you! great observations

What he's saying is that the Republican Party has forgotten its dedication to Republic. Representation. Not a protection racket. They've given themselves over to the fantasies of aristocracy based upon wealth, inherited wealth, inherited access, not merit.

A businesswoman wrote a great book a few years ago...

oh, I found a great link related to The Divine Right of Capital, by Marjorie Kelly.


She talks about the problem in America - we overthrew the idea of a permanently separate overclass of aristocracy in governing, but not in business. This belief in a "sacred" CEO class is racist and sexist - it's the paterfamilias who has the wife overseeing the home, the darkies out in the field and good ole pf can go rape someone when he gets a little free time - because he owns that world. But the others in that fantasy don't want to play along.

Republicans do not have a narrative that is not grounded in the oppression of others, so they have to pretend that liberals go home and jerk off to posters of Stalin in drag.

That's why they invented the Freudian slippery "trickle-down economics" and the rest of the twaddle that drips from their think tanks.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #17)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 08:36 PM

18. "...posters of Stalin in drag" LOL!.... a bizarro image!

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