Peter Beinart's essay, "The Rise of the New New Left" will be extremely influential as political people contemplate the 2016 post-Obama electoral universe. The article is a long must-read, but in summary, Beinart argues that the new political generation, which came of age amidst Wall Street's Great Recession, is going to support populist government remedies to the economic crisis that is leaving them behind. Their preferred presidential candidate is going to be Sen. Elizabeth Warren, if she runs, not Hillary Clinton, unless she turns left.
Coupled with their liberalism on social issues and anti-war sentiments on foreign policy, the new generation offers the greatest hope for progressive politics in decades, Beinart says.
The pivot, he says, is the electoral rise of Bill De Blasio in the New York mayor's race. The prophetic event, he thinks, was the rise of Occupy Wall Street, despite its organizational demise.
I think Beinart is entirely right. The Obama presidency could be a bridge to a deeper progressivism than we have seen since the early Sixties or late 1930s.
Of course, there are obstacles which Beinart may take too lightly. Wall Street, the Supreme Court and the Big Military will react vigorously to any challenge. The Right may gain significant ground in 2014, which will have to be reclaimed in an all-out electoral war in 2016. Sen. Warren may lose her way on national security policy. The left-of-center may fail to unify.
But the time is past due for the discussion and organizing to begin. Such opportunities do not come naturally and are lost by failures among progressives.