Good reading in The Atlantic on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Green New Deal. It highlights one of the overarching differences in the political strategy of the old Democrats (Obama/Clintons) versus the new progressive/leftist breed. The difference isn’t so much about policies as it is about how these policies are framed. The new progressive wave is based more on story and narrative, and this makes it an exciting time to be on the left because the leaders of the movement are appealing to something that can inspire a movement. It’s an approach that could win, and that means there is hope.
From the article:
The [Green New Deal] policy aligns with emerging Democratic strategy, too. The Green New Deal is policy-by-slogan, like “Medicare for All” or “Free Community College” or “Abolish ice.” Those phrases capture a worldview, a promise, and a vision of how life would be different after their passage. They mirror the pungency, if not the politics, of Trump’s promise to “Build the wall.”
That might simply sound like politics as usual – whip up emotions with trite sloganeering – but I think it goes to something deeper. I think it taps into our human need to see ourselves as part of a story, as a part of something bigger than ourselves. A slogan can be empty or meaningful, it can take the form of a cliché or a timeless epigram.
When a slogan taps into something meaningful and true, it mobilizes people because there is hope for a better life, and this is the positive side of tribalism. We need a healthy sense of belonging, of community. It’s something that capitalism has steadily destroyed, especially in recent decades. We need culture, not simply a steady stream of commodities and commercial goods.
FDR knew this. He brought together big, sweeping policies and reforms, but he tied them to a story about a better way of life, a more connected and caring America. At times, Roosevelt even sounded like a preacher. The Green New Deal is a deliberate attempt to recapture that old New Deal momentum:
The Green New Deal also looks like an economic stimulus plan…The last two Democratic presidents took power during an economic downturn or its immediate aftermath. Most climate bills look like new taxes—and new taxes are not easy to pass in the middle of a recession. But Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal was not a tax, even if it included taxes; it’s remembered instead as the greatest of all stimulus and jobs bills. If Democrats take the White House during a recession, they will have a far easier time passing a Green New Deal than a carbon tax.