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Is This the Future Liberals Want? – Jacobin magazine

The following is a preview from the forthcoming print issue of Jacobin, on populism. Subscribe to Jacobin today and get it when its released in November!

October 2040: an exhausted nation readies itself for the third and final presidential debate of a grueling campaign season. Across Americas living rooms, bars, basement shelters, and prisons, augmented reality devices light up with images of the two contenders.

First-term California governor Malia Obama, vaulted to the Democratic nomination after her heroic response to the devastating Central Valley flood of 39, introduces her Green Forward agenda. This ambitious plan, developed in partnership with Harvard University and the Bezos Foundation, aims to relocate 20 million workers from environmental and economic brownfields to productive metropolitan cores, where they can apply for federal grants, providing the displaced with access to education and skills training, along with civic engagement and entrepreneurship programs.

The proposal brings a throaty sneer from Republican president Allen Jones, the retired professional wrestling star formerly known as A.J. Styles. The elite wants to make you move to Portland, Oregon, and eat plastic hamburgers in a cubicle until you die, he says, referring to the citys recent ordinance banning the consumption of animal products. In contrast, Jones pledges to protect Judeo-Christian values by building the largest military drone fleet in world history, implanting microchips in illegal immigrants (just stamp em!), creating a million new American jobs in ocean-floor mineral mining, and cutting taxes.

As the debate ends, pundits remark that the country is more polarized than ever. Earlier in the campaign, Joness son Ajay, a freshman congressman from Georgia, made headlines by performing his fathers signature move, the Styles Clash, on longtime Texas senator Beto ORourke; images of bleeding Beto have featured prominently in campaign ads on both sides. But it is not clear how many Americans are really paying attention. One hundred and thirty million people sat out the last election, including a record share of lower-income and working-class voters. Even as wealth and income inequality soar to new highs, experts predict that less than a quarter of Americans without college degrees will cast a ballot in 2040.

For socialists, this may be a dystopian vision, but this is the future many liberals want or, at least, the future that professional Democrats have been aiming at for some time.

Chuck Schumers notorious boast about trading blue-collar Democrats for college-educated Republicans accurately captured the strategy that produced both the Democratic Partys disastrous 2016 defeat and its limited victory in 2018. But the comment was not just an unusually candid confession of the partys strategic priorities; it was also a neutral description of a much larger process that began long before Schumer reached the Senate.

Since the 1970s, parties of the left center have bled working-class support all over the industrialized world, with millions of blue-collar Democrats, Social Democrats, and Labor voters giving way to a new class of highly educated professionals. Schumers own political career, which began at age twenty-three, when he graduated from Harvard Law School and won election to the New York State Assembly in the same year (eat your heart out, Pete Buttigieg!) is just one illustration of this shift. In fact, Schumer-like politicians, and the professional-class voters they represent, have become the active leadership and core constituency within center-left parties from Brooklyn to Berlin to Sydney.

Thomas Piketty has dubbed this new configuration a clash between the Brahmin Left educated professionals, defined by their cosmopolitan virtues and the Merchant Right business leaders, committed to the ruthless maximization of profit. Under this arrangement of forces, working-class voters have either dwindled into quiescent adjuncts of the professional-class left, gravitated toward right-wing populism, or dropped out of politics altogether.

It wasnt always this way. Even in the United States, where racism and the two-party system have always sapped working-class solidarity, politics in the mid-twentieth century was polarized firmly along class lines. From the 1930s to the 1960s, if you were a working-class voter a mail carrier in Harlem, a miner in West Virginia, a farm laborer in New Mexico, a garment worker in Cleveland you were very likely to vote Democrat. If you were a manager or professional outside the Solid South from Vermont to California you were very likely to vote Republican. At its peak, in the era of Franklin D. Roosevelt, class voting was nearly as robust in the United States as anywhere in the industrialized world.

Across the twentieth century, it was this politics of class that structured the great and lasting achievements of European social democracy, from Britains National Health Service to the Scandinavian welfare state. In the United States, class voting produced the political coalitions that delivered the New Deal and the Civil Rights Acts. Here, as elsewhere, the decisive energy for reform came about through working-class organization, chiefly in labor and social movements.

But a key ingredient in the mix was a partisan alignment that allowed, and in some ways even encouraged, the success of class-based demands for economic redistribution and democratic equality. Unexceptional New Deal Democrats like Hubert Humphrey, pushed by organized labor and confident in the knowledge that they spoke as clear representatives of the working people, could denounce scabs and defend vigorous labor laws while calling for national health insurance, an end to Jim Crow, unprecedented mass transit and eldercare projects, and a stabilized economy of full employment.

There is no need to romanticize such mid-century Democrats, who also presided over the expansion of the security state and the murderous war in Vietnam. Yet neither can we afford to dismiss the victories in this era of class voting, which dwarf anything either Democrats or American leftists have won in the last fifty years. The Democratic Party was never truly a workers party, but its major achievements of the twentieth century were possible only because it was a party of workers.

This alignment has been under stress since the 1960s. Today, it is officially dead. The Democratic Party of our own decade, as New Americas Lee Drutman writes with palpable excitement, has become an unequal partnership between highly educated professional whites and minority voters, in which wealthy cosmopolitans play a role of increasing significance, not least as fundraisers and donors, but also in the party primaries, where the affluent disproportionately participate.

The Republican Party, meanwhile, has sharpened its identity as an alliance of bosses, cultural conservatives, and white nationalists. With a working class divided by race, and a managerial class divided by culture, more than ever it is education and moral values rather than material interests that form the battleground on which Americas two parties collide.

The causes of this broader shift, of course, transcend the conscious maneuvering of center-left party leaders. Racist backlash in the postcivil rights era served to undermine class solidarity everywhere. More broadly, globalization, financialization, automation above all, the political victories of capital over organized labor in the late twentieth century have combined to create a social reconstitution of the American working class. Its representative figure today is not a General Motors line-worker, close to the centers of power, but a home health aide (or atomized gig worker) whose labor, however necessary to society at large, does not always generate obvious leverage over capital or natural opportunities for collective action.

In the same decades, the rise of the knowledge economy swelled the numbers of credentialed professionals especially in law, medicine, education, and engineering and cemented their influence on American politics. With organized labor in decline, Democrats increasingly sought and often won this professional-class support, often clustered in affluent suburbs near universities, hospitals, and technology centers.

In the 1970s, the practitioners of the New Politics gave this process a progressive sheen, seeking to build a constituency of conscience in the era of George McGovern and Watergate. In the 1980s and 1990s, New Democrats in the mold of Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton tacked to the right, promising to rein in big government, forge public-private partnerships, and get tough on crime. But what both party movements shared was a laser-like focus on white-collar voters, accelerating the decline of class voting and paving the way for todays even more comprehensive dealignment.

This fundamental shift from the party of Humphrey to the party of Schumer remains the most important American political development that confronts the Left today. It is no accident that the decline of class voting has corresponded with fifty years of retreat for American workers: stagnant wages, accumulating debt, and increasing precarity, even as corporate profits have soared. Nor is it a coincidence that even popular two-term Democratic presidents in this era, elected by such dealigned class coalitions, have proven unable or unwilling to push for structural reforms on anything like the scale of the New Deal era, even after facing the biggest economic crash since the Great Depression.

This is the heavy undertow that churns beneath the apparent rising tide of the American left. Yes, the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign helped bring social-democratic ambition back to national politics, revealing mass support for once-marginalized ideas like single-payer health insurance and free public college. Yes, the overwhelming popularity of these and other proposals from debt cancellation to a Green New Deal has encouraged mainstream Democrats to ride the wave the best they can, accepting some limited demands (a $15 minimum wage) while attempting to dilute others (Medicare for All Who Want It). And yes, by appearing to embrace most of Sanderss platform, Elizabeth Warren has vaulted to the front of the 2020 primary race, leaving more cautious contenders like Kamala Harris and Beto ORourke far behind.

In one sense, these are cheering ideological victories, and a testament to the ongoing appeal of class-based politics. But the truth remains that all this has come about almost entirely within a political party whose own professional-class character, in the same years, has only grown stronger than ever. The 2018 midterms, after all, were won in the affluent suburbs; Democrats now control every single one of the countrys twenty richest congressional districts.

Warren, meanwhile, has broken away from the Democratic primary pack with the unmistakably enthusiastic support of voters making over $100,000 a year, among whom she leads in almost every poll. A recent California survey showed Warren winning more voters making over $200,000 than her next two rivals combined.

Is this a reliable base on which to challenge the power of capital or even to fight for basic social-democratic reforms? The experience of the last fifty years suggests otherwise.

For some liberal-left commentators, the decline of class voting and the rush of rich professionals into the Democratic Party is not a problem, but an opportunity. Matthew Yglesias and Eric Levitz, among others, have assembled all their cleverness to make the case that these new affluent voters so-called Patagonia Democrats are not an obstacle to economic populism, and may even be an asset.

As should be obvious, this is a deeply counterintuitive argument you see, wealthy people want to have their wealth redistributed! for which the burden of proof should be very high. Yglesias and Levitz do not reach it with either of the two major points they make.

First, they contend, the leftward shift within the professional class reflects a sincere ideological response to empirical reality that is, the shocking inequality of our era. Surveys show that upscale voters are increasingly willing to support redistributive ideas, including new taxes on the rich and increases in health-care spending. Even the professional establishment of the Democratic Party, Levitz notes, has moved dramatically leftward why else does the Center for American Progress now propose a federal job guarantee and a universal health-care plan?

Why now, indeed? Inequality yawned just as grotesquely ten years ago, under the presidency of Barack Obama and a filibuster-proof Senate, when the Center for American Progress supported no such things. The American health-care system was no less revolting in 2014, when the words Medicare for All did not appear in a single New York Times news article. Nor did this great leftward turn of the establishment make much of an impact on the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign, which won Patagonia Democrats in droves while fiercely resisting most of Bernie Sanderss social-democratic platform.

Might it be that the Democratic establishments recent leftward movement does not represent a sudden ideological conversion, but a tactical response to a rather different empirical reality the militant economic populism unleashed by the Sanders campaign, whose base was anything but Patagonia Democrats? In that case, the way to further advance the shift is not by congratulating professional-class elites on their progress much less building a political strategy centered around them but by making bolder and broader demands for change from outside the system.

Abstracted opinion polls, in any case, are an unreliable index of political behavior, especially when material interests become involved. After all, surveys show that most millionaires and tech CEOs also support various redistributive measures; a number of billionaires, including Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, have consistently expressed support for higher taxes on the rich. Does this mean that literal millionaires and billionaires are also not an obstacle to waging class war on millionaires and billionaires? Obviously not.

Yglesias and Levitzs second point is that the material interests of the professional class diverge sharply from the true 1 percent, which has hogged nearly all the economic growth of the last three decades. This is surely true, to an extent, and a major reason why many six-figure earners support taxes on seven-figure earners, while seven-figure earners support taxes on eight-figure earners, and so on and so on. But what does such modest and selective backing for redistribution look like in political practice?

One clue comes from Democratic governments in deep-blue states. Levitz optimistically cites Californias new bill to protect gig workers, but for every such example, there are several more discouraging ones, most of them concerned not with the regulation of a particular sector, but with the red meat of budgets and taxation. In New Jersey, new millionaire governor Phil Murphy failed to persuade a Democratic legislature to pass a millionaires tax. In Connecticut, governor Ned Lamont made good on his major campaign promise by passing a budget without any income tax raises. In Washington State, meanwhile, the new Democratic House speaker recently ruled out a new state income tax. This years California budget, purposefully light on tax increases, can hardly be considered a serious effort at economic redistribution.

Even New York, where a new progressive majority won a number of significant victories in the State Senate, the budget itself remained very much in Patagonia, prioritizing historic tax cuts on incomes up to $323,200 over urgently needed funding for education, public transit, and social programs. The New York Health Act, a single-payer bill that had passed the State Assembly in four straight sessions, was deemed untouchable in the Senate. New Yorks legislative session may suggest the arrival of a better Democratic Party, but it hardly suggests the second coming of social democracy or even the second coming of Hubert Humphrey.

At the national level, it may be that Patagonia Democrats prove more willing, as Levitz says, to pay modestly higher taxes for the sake of fortifying Americas social safety net. But this formula is neither new nor inspiring its a rerun of the Obama presidency, which let the Bush tax cuts expire, passed the stimulus, and expanded Medicaid, thus proving to captive observers like Paul Krugman that progressive policies have worked. Meanwhile, in the real world, the housing crisis destroyed working-class wealth, inequality kept soaring, and poverty remained entrenched.

Democrats should take the class warfare message to upscale suburbs Yglesiass argument is a sentence that makes sense only if your idea of class war is a few tweaks to the tax code, and your ultimate political horizon stretches no further than a third Obama administration.

Elizabeth Warren is the ideal general to fight just this kind of class war. A university law professor for forty years, thirty of them inside the Ivy League, Warren would be the most academic president since Woodrow Wilson, and she is already the most influential scholar to mount a serious presidential campaign. Her impressive credentials and technocratic sensibility have made her catnip for affluent professionals including, of course, some journalists who have become her most enthusiastic supporters.

Ideologically, Warren is no centrist New Democrat. Nor is she a lofty neoliberal triangulator in the mold of Obama or Pete Buttigieg. In her determination to fight corruption, and her fondness for clear rules and fair regulations, she may most resemble the progressive reformers of the McGovern era.

Yet while she is sometimes described as an economic populist, Warrens chief function in the primary race against Bernie Sanders has been to take the populism out of progressive economics. While formally embracing much of Sanderss 2016 platform, the Warren campaign distinguished itself not by underlining the necessity of popular struggle, but by advertising the comprehensive wonkery of her policy agenda: She has a plan for that! Warrens planfulness is Democratic savior politics in the style of Obama or Hillary Clinton. It does not summon the will of the masses; it says, Chill out, shes got this.

The emphasis here is on the reasonableness of the plans, not the boldness of the demands. Even Warrens most daring stroke on this front, a 2 percent tax on fortunes over $50 million,elicitschantsoftwo cents, two cents! withthe campaign and its supporters alike practically fetishizingthe modest limitsof the request.

When Warren does vow to challenge the power the wealthy, her rhetoric often works not to stoke the popular mind against Americas inequality but to naturalize it as a fact of national life: In America, there are gonna be people who are richer and people who are not so rich. And the rich are gonna own more shoes, and theyre gonna own more cars, and they may even own more houses. But they shouldnt own more of our democracy.

This isnt economic populism; its closer to a folksy progressive riff on there is no alternative. Nor does such a cabined understanding of democracy a question of fair procedures, walled off from the world of material goods open much room for questioning the tyranny of bosses under capitalism.

Having assembled a scrupulously conventional campaign staff, loaded with veterans of the DNC and Hillary for America, Warren has made it clear through careful primary endorsements that she remains an institutional player within the Democratic establishment, not an insurgent aiming to transform the party itself. Even in her scattered and vague references to the need for a grassroots movement, what she appears to mean, when she doesnt mean selfie lines, is nothing more revolutionary than electing more Democrats.

Rhetorically, Warrens stress on corruption the malfeasance of individual bad actors in Washington further channels legitimate complaints about a rigged system away from a confrontation with class power (as Sanders intends) and toward a search for better rules. It is perfectly suited to the spirit of todays proceduralist progressives Rachel Maddow Democrats whose first and strongest instincts are to outlaw, invalidate, or somehow disqualify their opponents rather than to defeat them in popular struggle.

In occasional populist moments, as in her recent speech at New York Citys Washington Square Park, Warren talks about the need to put economic and political power in the hands of the people. But the technocratic style of her politics hardly works to close the distance between political professionals and the people even her own supporters. I havent specifically pored through her policy proposals, said one New York University student in Washington Square Park, with what one imagines was a mixture of shame and awe, because there are a hundred thousand of them.

In fact, Warren lacks detailed plans for K12 education and health care. In Washington Square Park, while Warren talked about big structural change, comparing herself to the workers rights advocate Frances Perkins, she devoted just two formulaic sentences to contemporary labor politics. Although 2018 saw the most labor strife in over thirty years, with nearly half a million workers involved, Warrens speech barely mentioned the word strike.

The question here is not simply whether a Democratic candidate nominally supports unions, but where labor stands asa priority within the party. Memorably, Barack Obama supported the union-backed Employee Free Choice Act on the campaign trail, but after his election, he let the proposal die in Congress with barely a sound.

We may choose to regard this as a shameful presidential betrayal, but like many Obama-era failures, it revealed far less about Obamas personal views than about an institutional Democratic Party dominated not by labor advocates but by professional-class politicians highly attentive to their professional-class constituents. (The rise of the broader Patagonia left, as a study of fifteen European countries has found, tends to produce a less pro-worker welfare state.) As an individual Democrat, Warren may be to the left of Obama, but there is little reason to believe that she has the capacity to change this larger state of affairs.

Warrens most enthusiastic left-liberal supporters seem to regard her as a kind of sleeper agent within the system who can heroically cajole or hypnotize establishment Democrats into backing big, structural change, purely on the strength of professorial persuasion. Such faith, if sincere, is almost touching. But the record of Warrens own private battles with the Obama team hardly suggests that transformational change can be achieved through such a deeply institutional politics.

Warren will surely aim to craft better rules for Washington and Wall Street, but is this really structural reform? Her campaign has already announced that the first legislative priority of a Warren administration is nothing more architectural than a suite of strict lobbying regulations, most of them already passed by the Democratic House, along with the creation of a US Office of Public Integrity. Naturally, Vox calls this agenda ferocious.

Even in the best-case scenario, politics under a President Warren would almost surely resemble politics under Obama: careful negotiations between progressive professionals and stakeholders in Washington, in which the president seeks the least-worst outcome in a world of narrow and fixed constraints. An infinite variety of Yglesiases and Krugmans will luxuriate in the nuance, integrity, and ferocity of Warrens bold progressive agenda, even as fundamental economic structures remain unchanged. And then they will be shocked, just shocked, when the next Donald Trump swaggers into the White House and blows it all to bits.

Above all, it is hard to see how Warren can address the dealignment of class voting, or the ongoing evolution of the Democratic Party into the party of Fairfax County, USA. More than likely, Warrens nomination would only accelerate the trend. It is not a coincidence that by far her strongest support comes from Democrats with six-figure incomes and postgraduate degrees: in style and in substance alike, she offers a version of progressive politics as professional politics.

Theres a reason, as the journalist Krystal Ball has pointed out, why Warren and Buttigieg appeal to the same class of voters, despite the considerable differences in their platforms. Both candidates Harvard folk, of course rely heavily on individual stories of meritocratic achievement, along with an appeal to white papers, intellect, and resume items. This has worked and may continue to work wonders for Warren in a Democratic primary, where Patagonia Democrats predominate; how it would fare in a general election is much less clear.

In a campaign against Trump, of course, Warren would win many of the same votes that Hillary Clinton won, including black, Latino, and Asian workers who see no real alternative in the Republican Party. But a Warren nomination also clearly sets the stage for another dreary cultural clash between elite progressivism and Trumps fake populism. In such a battle, earnest liberal hymns to Warrens 100,000 plans no matter how many wealth taxes they propose are not likely to fare much better than 2016 pleas for voters to visit http://www.HillaryClinton.com/Issues.

Ultimately, there is little sign that a Warrenite politics of strict rules, detailed plans, and careful procedures can break the grip of this new cultural polarization never mind inspire the multiracial working-class coalition necessary for big, structural change, both inside and outside the Democratic Party.

More than a hundred years ago, Engels mocked the faddishness of elite interest in left-wing economics, and even socialism itself:

There is indeed Socialism again in England, and plenty of it Socialism of all shades: Socialism conscious and unconscious, Socialism prosaic and poetic, Socialism of the working class and of the middle class, for, verily, that abomination of abominations, Socialism, has not only become respectable, but has actually donned evening dress and lounges lazily on drawing-room causeuses. That shows the incurable fickleness of that terrible despot of society, middle-class public opinion, and once more justifies the contempt in which we Socialists of a past generation always held that public opinion.

In the last fifty years of American history, elite Democratic support for economic redistribution has proven no less fickle. The carousel of professional-class opinion spins on and on last week, McGovern; yesterday, Dukakis; today, Warren; tomorrow, Buttigieg? all while the right wing grows ever uglier and workers, as a class, drop ever further from view.

In a 2020 campaign against Donald Trump, a bet on Warren is a risky wager on its own terms. But over the next twenty years, the politics of Patagonia liberalism is not a bet at all its an unconditional surrender to class dealignment.

Bernie Sanders offers a fundamentally different path forward and not only due to his domestic, foreign, and planetary policy ideas, his ideological roots, his theory of change, or his relationship to the Democratic Party. All these differences are important, but Sanders also points to an alternate future for class politics itself.

To be sure, the Sanders campaign in the United States, like the Corbyn movement in Britain, has benefited, too, from the professional-class vogue for left-wing politics. (Thus Engels mocked the rise of respectable socialism, but admitted that we have no reason to grumble at the symptom itself.) Sanders supporters, much younger than average, are hardly a perfect cross section of Americas working class.

Yet neither is Sanders the creature of drawing-room progressives. From the beginning, Bernies campaign in 2015 attracted a coalition that looked very different from any primary insurgent in Democratic Party history. While McGovern, Gary Hart, Bill Bradley, Howard Dean, and now Elizabeth Warren won their first and fiercest support from wealthy professionals, Sanders in 2016 won more than 13 million votes from a much younger, less affluent, and less educated swath of the electorate.

In this years primary, the Sanders coalition remains young and relatively lower income, while it has grown more racially diverse. Bernies large, enthusiastic, and disproportionate support from Latino voters who form by far the fastest-growing segment of Americas working class must be one of the most underreported political stories of 2019.

The gaps between Warren and Sanders supporters are stark, especially considering their purported similarities in policy and ideology. According to Politicos September poll averages, Warren underperforms with voters making less than $50,000 by a greater margin than seven of the top eight Democrats in the race; Sanders overperforms with the same group by the highest margin the field.

When it comes to Patagonia Democrats, especially, the differences are unmistakable. A recent YouGov poll showed that just 13 percent of Democrats making $100,000 or more would be disappointed if Warren were nominated, the lowest share in the entire field, aside from Pete Buttigieg. Over a third of the same affluent group was opposed to Sanders, by far the highest of the top five leading Democrats.

In California, meanwhile, a UC Berkeley poll showed Warren far ahead of the pack among postgraduates (at 39 percent) and voters making over $200,000 (35 percent). Sanders, meanwhile, earned the backing of just 12 percent of postgrads and 9 percent of highest earners.

If the Sanders platform is in the objective self-interest of virtually all affluent suburbanites, as Eric Levitz argues, why do so few of them seem to know it?

The point is not thatSanders or his agenda is incapable of winning professional-class votes. In a general election, as dozens of polls have made clear since 2016, these affluent Democrats will almost certainly come around if the alternative is Trump. But while some upscale Democrats may benefit from Bernies platform, they are not drawn to his populism or his class politics. Sanders, unlike Warren, will never be their top choice.

In fact, the core of Bernies support comes from voters with a far more urgent material interest in the social-democratic programs he proposes, and a far clearer position in the class struggle that he has helped bring to the fore. Among California voters making under $40,000, Sanders had more support than Warren and Joe Biden combined; he also led both rivals among all voters who didnt go to college.

Bernies call for wealth taxes is not a modest plea for two pennies from Jeff Bezos, but a cry to abolish Jeff Bezos, and billionaires writ large. His support of Medicare for All is not a pledge to find the best policy framework, but a vow to fight the private insurance industry until every American has health care as a human right.

This is the kind of class politics that has won Sanders the support of 1 million small donors, faster than any candidate in history (and twice as many as the Warren campaign). An OpenSecrets review of campaign donations found that while Warren was naturally the top recipient among scientists and professors, Sanders led by far among teachers, nurses, servers, bartenders, social workers, retail workers, construction workers, truckers, and drivers. Of all the money going to 2020 Democrats from servers one of the lowest-paying jobs in the country more than half went to Sanders alone.

This is just what is required to challenge the power of the ultrarich: a politics that does not treat lower-income voters as a kind of passive supplement for professional liberals, but one that can put the new working class itself at the center of the action.

A professional-class left, as scholars of European politics have noted, may be trusted to safeguard the bare bones of existing welfare states programs that are themselves the legacy of much older working-class struggles. But in the United States, with our barbarously incomplete provision for basic social needs, the necessary struggle is not just to defend existing social democracy, but to build it from the ground up.

This is not the work of a single election cycle or a single presidential administration. Nor is it exclusively, or even primarily, the work of electoral struggle itself. But if we want to build anything like a halfway decent, free, or fair democracy, we should remember that the only politics that have ever achieved this or can ever achieve this are the politics of class voting, led by an organized working class. Bernie Sanders, all by himself, will hardly bring about the movement we need. But unlike every other Democrat in the field, at least he points in the right direction.

Continued here:

Is This the Future Liberals Want? - Jacobin magazine

A Liberal Uneasy in the World of #MeToo Feminism – The New York Times

THE PROBLEM WITH EVERYTHINGMy Journey Through the New Culture WarsBy Meghan Daum

Heres the problem with Meghan Daums electrifying new book, The Problem With Everything: My Journey Through the New Culture Wars. Its a critique of feminisms fourth wave, a social media-driven movement articulating not just the rights of women, along with microaggression concepts like mansplaining, but also the fuzzier tenets of intersectionality, a hitherto hidden matrix of privilege and oppression. But trickily for readers in todays age-striated world, three (approximately) generations encounter this feminist movement and the broader culture wars of which it is a part in at least three different ways.

First, baby boomers. Think someone 70-plus, like my friend Peggy, comfortably retired, living in a leafy enclave, who wears Native American jewelry without irony (shes from Pennsylvania). She sends her grandchildren Apple products and money for their college tuitions from a comfortable distance. Typical gently amused exclamation, regarding nonbinary pronouns: They, them, their? Please. Its not even grammatical!

Second, Gen Xers. Around 50, or about Daums age, theyre the sweet spot for this collection. Or sweet-sour, if you will, caught as these aging Gen Xers are in the culture wars saw blades. Many have children in their teens and 20s, so they mis-gender at their continual peril. Their workplaces, particularly if at cultural institutions, have become professional minefields: In these fraught times, linguistic slips involving any kind of race or sex or otherness can trigger a layoff. (One radio producer remarked, over his barely touched quinoa salad: Im 61 if I can just hang on for four more years.)

These beleaguered, not-yet-retired middle-agers might want to discuss The Problem With Everything with the third generation: the millennials and Gen Zs. Thirty-five and younger, this cadre occupies a new world, particularly if culturally woke. Their social media teems with hashtags (#DGAF Dont Give a [expletive]), eye-rolling GIFs (Emma Stone), raw outrage (I. Cant. Even.). In 280 characters, Twittering S.J.W.s (social justice warriors) call out and cancel their oppressors. Daum acknowledges such behavior is understandable, even necessary: Trumpism has made us feel that the world is out of control. However, she insists, the migration of #MeToo to #BelieveWomen also fundamentally flew in the face of innocent until proven guilty.

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A Liberal Uneasy in the World of #MeToo Feminism - The New York Times

This Polarizing Liberal Zionist Group Is Growing. Can It Overcome Its Past? – Forward

Carly Pildis is a progressive activist and writer who frequently speaks out about anti-Semitism on the left as well as the depredations of the right. Every day, she says, she gets messages from American Jewish women who tell her theyre scared of expressing their support for Israel, or even their Jewish identities, in progressive spaces.

She tried to support the women, advising them and amplifying their concerns in her writing , but there wasnt much more she could do.

Now Pildis, who worked on the 2012 Obama campaign, is taking action on the issue. She has joined the staff of a Jewish not-for-profit called Zioness as its director of organizing and second full-time employee.

I dont want people to feel afraid, said Pildis. I want them to know they are powerful, and I joined Zioness to teach them how to grab that power.

Zioness was founded in 2017 to serve people like Pildis - feminists and liberals who dont want to denounce the Jewish state as the price of entry among progressives. Now its expanding its staff and ambitions.

But as the group tries to grow, it is facing distrust from other liberal Jewish organizations that would presumably be its natural allies. The divide reflects the tension many American Jews face as they struggle to balance their liberal leanings with their desire to support what they see as an increasingly illiberal Israel.

The suspicion goes back to Zionesss founding two years ago. The group was born after employees of the Lawfare Project, which fights the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, learned in 2017 that the Chicago Slut Walk had banned Zionist symbols. Outraged, they flew from New York to Chicago to participate anyway, waving banners proclaiming themselves part of the Zioness movement.

The group reached its highest profile as a critic of anti-Semitism within the Womens March. Executive director Amanda Berman got invited to speak at synagogues. Chapters now more than 30 were formed across the country.

But many prominent Jewish progressives were skeptical, especially about the Lawfare connection. Berman worked there until this January, and Lawfare founder and executive director Brooke Goldstein, who went with Berman to Chicago, is a Trump supporter and a frequent Fox News guest.

Berman insisted at the time and maintains now that Zioness was independent from Lawfare.

Still, some on the Jewish left wondered if Zioness was a bid by right-wing Zionists to co-opt their movement, claiming to be progressive only to cover up their true goal of defending Israel.

Now it seems that IfNotNow and others were right to be skeptical.

Last month, Goldstein wrote on Facebook that Lawfare funded and incubated Zioness and that she had used [Berman] as the face of the movement as she wasnt a public figure and not identifiable as conservative. Goldstein did not respond to interview requests.

Whats more, Berman admits now that her Lawfare connections helped Zioness get right-wing funding. She secured a $25,000 donation when she spoke about Zioness in 2018 to the Merona Foundation, a Jewish donor network run by the wife of the controversial conservative Jewish philanthropist Adam Milstein.

Yet Zionesss relationship with Zionist conservatives soured after the group issued a statement calling Trumps policies of detaining migrant children and separating families heartless and contrary to Zionist values.

We felt betrayed, basically. And angry, said former donor Rita Emerson.

These days, Goldstein claims that Zioness is now too anti-Trump. Berman claimed that Milstein used to donate to them but no longer does because its actually progressive. A spokesperson for Milstein said that was not an accurate characterization but declined to say whether Milstein gave or is still giving to Zioness.

Support on the right has withered but will progressive groups step in as allies, given that their early suspicions seem to have been well-founded?

If the answer is no, Zioness work will be harder at the beginning, said Shaul Kelner, a professor at Vanderbilt University who studies social justice movements.

One such progressive Jewish group is Truah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. Truah is Zionist they support a Jewish state alongside a Palestinian one and also campaigns against mass incarceration and family separation, partnering with major organizations like the ACLU.

Truah executive director Rabbi Jill Jacobs said she was still skeptical of Zionesss strategy.

My perception of Zioness is about showing up at protests with the signs, not around long-term relationships, she told the Forward. Its those relationships that allow you to have complicated conversations around Israel.

Zionesss board features Jewish liberals, such as former Clinton White House communications director Ann Lewis and onetime Democratic congressional candidate Erin Schrode. But its impossible to know whos funding it now. Since its so new, its not yet required to share financial records.

Other progressive groups are going to be looking at [the funding,] and that will probably influence whether theyre going to work with them or not, Kelner predicted.

Berman said that the money to hire Pildis came from an anonymous liberal Jewish philanthropist. She refused to disclose their identity because she didnt want Pildis to find out. Pildis said she didnt know who it was.

Zionesss next stage, Berman said, involves helping members advocate for specific issues they care about - providing them with policy memos and campaign strategies.

Some chapters are already active. One has joined the Florida Hate Crime Coalition.

Pildis has been hired to train Zioness members to be activists on domestic issues like gun control and reproductive rights. She will teach them how to engage with elected officials and form partnerships with other advocacy groups.

But what Zioness wont do, say Pildis and Berman, is advocate for Israel unless someone else brings it up first.

Weve been really clear from day one we dont exist just to debate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Berman said.

Kelner said Zioness has a chance to be a long-term success even if other liberal groups keep their distance.

Its a matter of doing the hard organizing work to transform the base level of demand into people actually signing up, he said. Then it doesnt matter what the origin story is, because they have the power of numbers behind them.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor of the Forward. Contact him at pink@forward.com or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink

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This Polarizing Liberal Zionist Group Is Growing. Can It Overcome Its Past? - Forward

Q&A: Western Liberal pres on why you should vote to re-elect – The Gazette Western University’s Newspaper

Elections always centre around the incumbent especially this year, after photos appeared of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in blackface and brownface.

It was another controversy for the Liberal leader, whose platform pledges a number of supports for students.

The president of the Western Liberals club, Robert Belanger-Polak, spoke with Gazette Opinions Editor, Hope Mahood, about how students should think about the PM. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

How did you react when you found out Trudeau did brownface?

Just the brownface? Well, I did find it disappointing. It was an unfortunate thing to have had happen. Personally I dont agree with it at all. But I do think the Prime Minister has done a pretty good job with diversity and inclusion and promoting values within the last four years.

And it seems like its going to be a big push in the current iteration of the Liberal platform, which should be good. I think there will be a net positive, for lack of a better word, in opposition to what he did previously.

What do you think of his apology then?

Well I cant recall his apology word-for-word, which is too bad, but its one of those scenarios where an apology cant really suffice. Its one of those things that you have to, I think, prove different with actions.

Im sure you know the liberals are being attacked on two fronts right now when it comes to climate change. Theres the NDP whore mad with them for buying the trans-mountain pipeline, and then theres the Conservatives who are upset with the carbon price.

Yep.

Which of these criticisms do you think is more valid?

So I think, in a way they both have validity. And I think theres probably more validity from the left criticisms we need to do more, and I think thats something myself and the party agrees with. I think were taking steps to get there, but its also a matter of making sure our climate plan is feasible, so appeasing the criticism from the right. And also making sure that we move forward with the necessary precautions.

So making sure that the plan will have tangible effects making sure that Canada has net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. And you know there are other things the Liberals are doing that I think make them pretty good for the climate change plan.

And Trudeau announced that hed make changes to student loans in light of Ontarios OSAP cuts. Should the Federal government be inserting itself into provincial policies?

I think thats a good question. I dont know if its inserting though Id say that the Liberals are covering up where they believe there to be deficits theyre not taking over it or anything, right?

But theyre going ahead and saying things like theyll provide 1,200 more in student grants and were going to make the loans you receive from us so that, if youre making under 35 thousand, you wont have to pay them back until you are making above that or if after two years of graduation you have to start paying them back and its all interest free. I do think it is a positive policy to implement.

I guess there is an elephant in the room question then can Canada afford all this?

I guess that is a common criticism when we have a bunch of fun, good policy proposals where is the money coming from? how are we going to pay for everything? One of the fun things in the platform well, I guess its not fun, but its cool you can see the platform is actually fully costed.

I dont know how tax is going to come into play but I do know the platform does have a breakdown of everything so I think it will be cool. I guess the flipside is with other parties policies cutting things, like when you have one party proposing $41 billion in cuts you have to ask where are the cuts coming from what services are not going to be provided?

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Q&A: Western Liberal pres on why you should vote to re-elect - The Gazette Western University's Newspaper

Can American Jews Be Both Liberal and Pro-Israel? – The New York Times

The Oldest Hatred

To the Editor:

It was with great interest that I read Hillel Halkins review of Bari Weisss How to Fight Anti-Semitism (Sept. 29). Halkin writes with characteristic clarity, force and knowledge, and I concur with his judgment that her book is a brave one in the current political and cultural climate. Her stance as a proud Jew and lover of Israel is one that I, like Halkin, applaud.

However, I find his disappointment and critique of Weisss identification with the liberal values that dominate the contemporary American Jewish community rather narrowly construed historically. The alliance between Jews in the modern Western world and political liberalism predates the 19th century and German reform and unquestionably has its origins in the writings of Baruch Spinoza and Moses Mendelssohn that called for separation between religion and state during the 17th and 18th centuries. These stances were part and parcel of Enlightenment thought and allowed for a neutral or at least semineutral public sphere to emerge that permitted the political emancipation of the Jews. Virtually all modern religious and secular Jews applauded this development. It was a stance that was born both out of one reading of a multivalent Jewish tradition that championed such values and of a self-interested Jewish judgment that such liberal values were in the best interests of the Jewish community. Many if not most American Jews including Weiss and myself still believe this to be the case.

Indeed, in championing a liberal reading of Jewish tradition, Weiss and other American Jews are allowing values of the larger culture to inform their reading of the tradition no less than Jews have for thousands of years. As the historian Gerson D. Cohen pointed out in his memorable 1966 commencement address, The Blessing of Assimilation in Jewish History, Jews throughout history have assimilated teachings from the surrounding world to inform their own understanding of an ever-evolving Judaism.

This was true when the Bible employed the political lexicon of the ancient Near East to describe the relationship between a sovereign and his subjects and transformed the Akkadian word biritu (clasp or fetter) into the Hebrew term berit (covenant) to describe the relationship between God and the Jewish people, or when the medieval philosopher Moses Maimonides internalized and applied the teachings of Aristotle to explicate the nature of Judaism to his contemporaries. I fail to see why modern Jews like Weiss should not possess the same right as their ancestors to interpret Jewish tradition through the wisdom and insights provided by a surrounding culture.

Halkin may not agree. Nevertheless, I do not see why Weiss has any need to apologize for her advocacy of a liberal stance or why such a stance is any less legitimate than a neoconservative reading of Jewish tradition.

David Ellenson New York

The writer is chancellor emeritus and former president of Hebrew Union College and professor emeritus of Near Eastern and Judaic studies at Brandeis University.

To the Editor:

In his review of Bari Weisss book, Hillel Halkin tries to deride the position of those who are liberal and pro-Israel as a seemingly contradictory notion in this day and age a position not unlike that of President Trump, who recently accused Jews who are Democrats of being disloyal. The question is not whether democracy is compatible with the stance of liberal Jewish Americans who are pro-Israel but whether social justice, which is the foundation of the Jewish religion, is compatible with being a Republican.

Diane Burstein Jamaica, Queens

To the Editor:

Has Judaism been influenced by the American milieu? Yes, of course. But Judaism has likewise been influenced by every diaspora Jews have lived in. Throughout its long history Judaism has evolved as it interpreted and reinterpreted its foundational sacred writings in light of the times and communities in which Jews have lived.

In his attempt to strip love and compassion from its rightful place in the Jewish tradition, Hillel Halkin seems to have forgotten about the teachings of the biblical prophets.

The lines from Isaiah, read in every synagogue on Yom Kippur, to let the oppressed go free share your bread with the hungry and take the wretched poor into your home, sound an awful lot like American liberalism to me.

Barry W. Holtz New York

The writer is Theodore and Florence Baumritter professor of Jewish education at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.

To the Editor:

Hillel Halkin asserts that the tradition of Judaism does not support democracy or gay rights. Apparently these were created by the deplorable Greeks and picked up by the Reform Jews.

Halkin, like Bari Weiss, is entitled to his interpretation of his religion. The problem arises when anyone asserts their right to rule a nation-state according to their religious interpretation. That is why the United States began with separation of church and state. There should be no Jewish state, no Christian state, no Muslim state, no Hindu state and not even an officially atheist state. If such a view leads to a rejection of Zionism, then so be it. Democratic anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitic.

Wayne Price Bronx

To the Editor:

The headline (The Oldest Hatred) on Hillel Halkins review of Bari Weisss book got it dead wrong.

The oldest hatred is of women. Period.

Caroline Gaudy Salt Lake City

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Can American Jews Be Both Liberal and Pro-Israel? - The New York Times

Election 2019: New poll shows Liberals, Bloc tied for voting intention in Quebec – Montreal Gazette

The Liberals and the Bloc Qubcois are neck and neck in voting intention in Quebec, according to results of a poll of Quebec voters by Forum Research on Oct. 11, with the Conservatives a distant third. Voting Intention describes voters who say they are decided or leaning in a particular direction.

That the Liberals and the Bloc are tied in Quebec could negatively affect Liberal chances for re-election, said Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff.

In a random sampling among 1,001 Quebec voters aged 18 or older the day after the Oct. 10 French-language debate, 33 per cent said they plan to vote Liberal in the Oct. 21 federal election; 31 per cent said they plan to vote for the Bloc.

Those most likely to say theyll vote Liberal are 35 to 44, live in Montreal or northwestern Quebec and are anglophone; respondents most likely to say theyll vote Bloc are 65 or older, living in suburbs of Montreal and francophone.

Respondents named Bloc Qubcois leader Yves-Franois Blanchet the winner of the debate. Twenty-eight per cent of those surveyed said hed won and, among Quebecers aged 65 or older, the figure was 44 per cent.

Forum Research president Bozinoff said the fact that Blanchet was seen to have performed well in the debate may explain some of the Blocs recent gains in Quebec.

The most popular answer for who won the debate was nobody, but 18 per cent of respondents said it was Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. Respondents most likely to declare Trudeau the victor won include those who speak neither French nor English at home, are anglophones and plan to vote Liberal.

The performance of Conservative Andrew Scheer in the debate was ranked in the poll as worst among the candidates by 25 per cent of respondents.

Thirty-five per cent of the Quebecers polled said that, regardless of party affiliation, Trudeau would make Canadas best prime minister. This opinion was most prevalent among voters aged 35 to 44, women, Montrealers, anglophones and those who plan to vote Liberal.

By a wide margin, respondents said that Trudeau is best equipped to to represent Canada on the world stage.

The poll of Quebecers, conducted by telephone survey from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 11, is considered accurate to within three percentage points 19 times out of 20.

Support for federal political parties in Quebec, from a Forum Research poll taken Oct. 11. (Photos by Stephane Mahe/Reuters)Montreal Gazette

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Election 2019: New poll shows Liberals, Bloc tied for voting intention in Quebec - Montreal Gazette

Liberals Ruin Everything – Townhall

The video immediately went viral. Ellen DeGeneres explaining why she was sitting next to former President George W. Bush at the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers last weekend was widely praised by people across the political spectrum. Well, almost all the way across the political spectrum. Far left activists were still upset because, well, thats where they live. Everyone else was happy to see someone stand up for getting along with people you disagree with politically. At least for the moment. Then the moment passed, and those on the left returned to doing what they always do ruining everything.

One thing to notice about the controversy surrounding the two political opposites getting along like adults at a public event was where the outrage was coming from in the first place. Progressive activists were beside themselves with anger that DeGeneres, someone who not only is a lesbian but is also on their team as far as politics goes, would sit next to one of historys greatest monsters and not attack him physically, apparently.

Ellens rebuke was a nice change from the usual apologies that flow when the liberal mob targets someone for not being pure enough, but the necessity of it is more telling than that. While there was a lot of rage directed at Ellen for laughing with the former Republican president, there was no rage at the former Republican President for laughing with Ellen.

Conservatives didnt care. Two people with differing political beliefs getting along is a sin on the left, but it is a non-event on the right. We simply dont have the purity tests leftists do to exist in our circle of friends and family.

We all know people, whether were related to them or choose to associate with them, who support Democrats. Its no big deal. It is grounds for excommunication on the left.

Still, the video was nice to see, if only to remind people that human decency was still possible. Thats when CNNs Chris Cillizza came along.

Cillizzas column had an innocuous enough title, What the friendship of Ellen DeGeneres and George W. Bush should teach us. OK, maybe not that innocuous. Adults should be mature enough to not care about anyones politics when it comes to friendship. But Cillizza is a man of the left, and CNNs audience is the left, and they need reminders of basic human decency every now and then, like after calling for a politicians death in front of their house in the middle of the night or while screaming at someone who dared be a conservative in a restaurant. But that wasnt what Cillizza did.

After recounting the event, Chris wrote, What DeGeneres is advocating there is sort of anti-Trumpism in its purest form. Because what this President represents, more than any issue stance or policy position, is the idea that people who disagree with you are to be mocked, to be villainized, to be bullied. If you disagree with Trump on, well, anything, you are his enemy. The only way to be in his good graces -- and therefore, in the good graces of those who support him -- is to agree with him on absolutely everything.

Cillizza suffers from a raging case of Trump Derangement Syndrome, and he simply couldnt control himself.

Not only was it the exact opposite of everything DeGeneres was criticizing in her viral video, its everything the left does on a daily basis.

Its not the right that is shouting down speakers on college campuses. Its not the right demanding people be de-platformed for holding views we dont like. Its not the right calling for boycotts and people to be fired for daring to stray from progressive orthodoxy. It not only is the political left, its CNN in all these cases, with the exception of campus speeches. And all of it pre-dated Donald Trumps ride down the escalator in June of 2015.

What Cillizza either doesnt know or doesnt want his readers to know, is division is the coin of the realm of the left.

Democrats divide people based on their income, their skin color, their sexuality, their gender, their ethnicity, whatever you got. They work to convince people theyre victims, and you cant have a victim without there being a perp.

Listen to any 2020 Democrat speak and its all about how there is this nebulous group of others fighting hard to oppress everyone else, and their liberal policies are the only hope for overcoming that systemic oppression. Ask the citizens of Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, or anywhere else the left has had absolute generational control over the levers of power how the help the left is offering worked out for them.

Cillizza is no different than the Twitter trolls attacking DeGeneres for being friends with Bush, only he turned his focus to the current president.

Many liberals dont seem to realize how nasty and full of hatred they are because their worlds are pure. Cillizza lives in the CNN ecosystem, where hatred for Republicans is the key to more facetime on TV. Even their conservative commentators overflow with bile at the mention of the presidents name.

But the president doesnt take it lying down. The old Republican response to being punched in the face was to apologize for hurting the hand of the Democrat who punched them. Donald Trump doesnt play that game, he hits back (and if you look at the attacks from the president that cause Democrats to clutch their pearls, hes always punching back, never attacking people out of the blue). Liberals arent used to that.

If someone is used to walking all over a person, treating them like garbage for years, then suddenly that person stands up for themselves and refuses to take the abuse anymore, the abuser always feels like a shocked victim. Can you believe what they called me? said the abuser, is not uncommon.

Far-left progressives are the problem, people who think Ellen DeGeneres and George W. Bush being friends is somehow extraordinary are the problem, because its not extraordinary. Its very ordinary to be friends with someone who has wildly different political views from you, even on important issues. Well, ordinary everywhere except far-left places like CNN, where someone like an Ana Navarro is your frame of reference for what constitutes a conservative.

If you want to know what Ellen and Georges friendship should teach us, Chris, its not that Donald Trump is a meanie, its that youre a hypocrite. Its not that people from different ends of the political spectrum CAN get along, its that they DO get along all the time. That that fact is news or, in your words, really important to anyone is more of a reflection on you than it is on society.

Derek is the host of a free daily podcast (subscribe!) and author of the book,Outrage, INC., which exposes how liberals use fear and hatred to manipulate the masses.

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Liberals Ruin Everything - Townhall

Moderate Liberals urged to break ranks and vote for climate emergency motion – The Guardian

The Greens have intensified efforts ahead of the return of federal parliament next week to lobby moderate Liberals to break ranks and vote for a motion declaring a climate emergency.

With parliament set to resume on Monday, the lower house Greens MP Adam Bandt has written to all parliamentarians in the House urging them to support the climate emergency motion, which would be seconded by independent Zali Steggall, and has the support of most of the crossbench.

Every member of parliament is capable of supporting this motion, Bandt says in the letter. It does not condemn the government nor does it express support for any particular policy position.

It simply acknowledges the science and calls on the government to take urgent action. This motion is a statement that individual members of parliament recognise the seriousness of the challenge we face.

Once the declaration has been made, having recognised across the political spectrum that this is a challenge we all face together, the debate can begin in earnest about the best way to deal with the emergency.

Given that members of the Coalition have a free vote, I expect that government MPs will feel free to vote for the motion. On this issue, every individual parliamentarian has a duty to act.

Labor has discussed the proposal with the Greens but is yet to decide whether or not to back the motion, and the opposition has been publicly at odds over future emission reduction targets in the past week.

During the last parliamentary sitting in September, the shadow climate change minister, Mark Butler, told Guardian Australia it was abundantly clear there is a climate emergency. Ive said so in the parliament on a number of occasions.

But Butler said there was also little to no prospect of the Greens-led motion getting up in the current parliament, because Liberals would not break ranks. Liberals would need to vote in favour of the motion for it to have any prospect of success. In that context, Butler said he was not sure it is realistic to have a debate.

At the time the proposed motion was unveiled, the former Liberal leader John Hewson urged Scott Morrison to give his MPs a conscience vote. Hewson argued if it had been acceptable for Tony Abbott to declare a budget emergency in the run-up to the 2013 election, Liberals in 2019 should have no issue with adopting the language in the Greens motion, because declaring a climate emergency in Australia almost goes without saying.

An e-petition circulating calling on the House to immediately act and declare a climate emergency in Australia, and introduce legislation that will with immediacy and haste reduce the causes of anthropogenic climate change, has now reached 312,779 signatures which is a record for Australian parliamentary petitions.

The British parliament declared a climate emergency in May, endorsing a parliamentary motion moved by the Labour party. Conservative MPs in the UK were told to not oppose the Labour motion. A number of Australian councils have also declared a climate emergency.

The Australian Medical Association has formally declared climate change a health emergency, pointing to clear scientific evidence indicating severe impacts for our patients and communities now and into the future.

Several Liberal MPs have signed on to a crossbench-led climate action committee, as the parliaments independents attempt to take partisan politics out of the nations climate policies.

Tim Wilson, Dave Sharma, Jason Falinski, Katie Allen, Angie Bell and Trent Zimmerman are among the Liberal MPs to sign up to the Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action group, along with Labors Ged Kearney and Josh Burns as well as Adam Bandt from the Greens and Andrew Wilkie.

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Moderate Liberals urged to break ranks and vote for climate emergency motion - The Guardian

Oops. Liberal Windsor West candidate posts photo of ballot on Twitter – CBC.ca

Liberal candidate Sandra Pupatello may have violated the Canada Elections Act by posting a photo of her ballot.

Pupatello, running in Windsor West, posted a photo of her completed ballot on Twitter Saturday, saying "I did it! I voted for me!" and tagging the Liberal Party of Canada in Ontario Twitter account.

About five minutes later, Pupatello deleted the tweet, apologizing.

The Commissioner of Canada Elections wouldn't confirm if the matter was being investigated, but referred CBC to Section 163 of the Canada Elections Act, which states that a person's vote is secret.

Other provisions under the Canada Elections Act prohibit "photographs, videos or copies of marked ballots," as excerpted below:

Photograph, video or copy of marked ballot

281.8 (1) No person shall

(a) take a photograph or make a video recording of a ballot or special ballot that has been marked, at an election, by an elector;

(b) make a copy, in any manner, of any ballot or special ballot that has been marked, at an election, by an elector; or

(c) distribute or show, in any manner, to one or more persons, a photograph, video recording or copy of a ballot or special ballot that has been marked, at an election, by an elector.

Should there be an investigation, the Commissioner's office said a fine of up to $5,000 may be imposed, or imprisonment of up to six months or both.

"That being said, the Commissioner has other means of ensuring compliance with, and enforcement of, the Act including compliance agreements and administrative monetary penalties," said Myriam Croussette for the Commissioner's office in an email.

A spokesperson for Pupatello declined to comment further, referring instead to the second tweet acknowledging the photo should not have been posted.

NDP candidate Brian Masse didn't see the photo.

"I don't follow her Twitter account but that's obviously that's not something you would do," said Masse. "I focus on our campaign ... I don't focus on the opponents. Obviously that's not something you should do."

Masse "couldn't say" if there should be any repercussions for Pupatello's photo.

"The vote in Canada in most places is secret," said Elections Canada regional media advisor Rejean Grenier.

Grenier said the issue isn't good for a lot of reasons it's not fair to other voters, or to the process itself.

"When a candidate does it ... it doesn't even really mean anything. We didn't think she was going to vote for someone else," said Grenier.

According to Grenier, people can tell their friends or family who they voted for, but generally speaking the vote should be secret. He also said the rules are "pretty simple."

"You can't take photos in a polling station. You can't take pictures of electors, except from the back. You can take pictures from the doorway," said Grenier.

Pupatello has years of experience in politics, havingserved as an MPP from 1995 to 2011 as a member of the Ontario Liberal Party under Dalton McGuinty.

During her first term as an MPP, she was the opposition critic for community and social services, children's issues, youth issues and the management board of cabinet.

Re-elected in 2003, Pupatellowas appointed as the minister of community and social services. In 2006, she was appointed the minister of education, but was reassigned a short time later as minister of economic development and trade.

In 2008, Pupatello took the role of the minister of international trade and development.

Pupatello was the co-manager of Dwight Duncan's 1996 campaign for the Ontario Liberal Party leadership.

In November of 2012, Pupatello announced her candidacy for the Liberal Party of Ontario leadershiprole, but lost to Kathleen Wynne in January 2013.

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Oops. Liberal Windsor West candidate posts photo of ballot on Twitter - CBC.ca

The Liberals broke their promise on electoral reform. Will it hurt them in 2019? – National Post

OTTAWA Andrew Cash thinks the Liberal promise to bring in electoral reform might have cost him his job.

He also believes the fact that the Liberals abandoned the pledge, which he said is one of many reasons why progressive-minded voters are disenchanted with Justin Trudeau and his government, could help him get that job back in the Oct. 21 election.

The New Democrat candidate in the downtown Toronto riding of Davenport lost by a narrow margin 1,441 votes, or about three percentage points to Liberal Julie Dzerowicz in the 2015 election, one of many upsets in the red wave that swept across the country.

Cash, who is now running there again, says electoral reform is one of the issues that comes up, unprompted, when he knocks on doors.

It comes up for people for whom that was a really important thing in the last election and it also comes up with people who are just sort of really frustrated with the system the way it is right now, Cash said in an interview days before the campaign began.

Trudeau promised, repeatedly and unequivocally, that he would get rid of the current first-past-the-post voting system in time for 2019. The Liberal platform said the 2015 election would be the last for the traditional way of electing MPs: thered be reform legislation before Parliament within 18 months.

It comes up for people for whom that was a really important thing in the last election and it also comes up with people who are just sort of really frustrated with the system the way it is right now

That bold declaration made things a little awkward for the Liberals when they decided, after a series of stumbles, to walk away.

The New Democrats and Greens, who have long called for proportional representation, howled in protest.

The Conservatives, who were against changing anything without a referendum, made political hay of the flip-flop.

The main rationale Trudeau gave for breaking the promise was that apart from a minority of passionate proponents of electoral reform, Canadians were not, in his view, that insistent about changing the way they cast ballots in federal elections after all.

Previous attempts in Ontario, Prince Edward Island and British Columbia have failed, sometimes more than once. That lack of widespread interest was seen as one reason Trudeau could emerge from the controversy with his own electoral fortunes intact.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh brought renewed attention to the issue this week when he detailed what it would take for his party to support a minority government in Parliament, saying they would push the next government to change the system.

Still, electoral reform is not listed as one of Singhs six specific conditions for support.

The Liberals came to power on high expectations.

They need to convince voters passionate about the progressive causes they championed in 2015 to stick with them, even though they might be disappointed over the choices they have made over the past four years, such as purchasing the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project or how they handled the SNC-Lavalin affair.

David Coletto, chief executive of Ottawa-based polling firm Abacus Data, says he does not think electoral reform, as an issue, is a motivating factor for enough people to have an impact on the outcome. Electoral reform as a prominent broken promise, however, could be different.

It was part of a wider set of decisions the government made that has disappointed many of those who voted for them, says Coletto.

Fair Vote Canada, a registered third-party group promoting electoral reform, is targeting 21 ridings, are urging people to vote for local candidates who support some kind of proportional representation.

That includes Davenport, where Fair Vote Canada asks people to vote for Cash or the Green party candidate, Hannah Conover-Arthurs, over Dzerowicz, the Liberal incumbent.

Proportional representation aims to have the numbers of MPs in the House of Commons align more closely with the popular vote.

The current system of first-past-the-post means the candidate with a plurality of votes in each of 338 ridings wins the seat. Its simple and familiar. It meant the Liberals 39.5 per cent of the popular vote in 2015 gave them a majority government with 184 seats.

Trudeau himself had favoured a ranked-ballot system, where voters can transfer their votes to second and third and fourth choices in split races if their preferred candidates come last in successive rounds of counting.

Fair Vote Canada endorses the NDP, which has pledged to bring in mixed-member proportional representation within its first mandate, and the Green party, which has long fought for proportional representation and is also promising to do away with first-past-the-post in time for the 2023 vote.

The Conservatives are not calling for electoral reform. This time around, the Liberal platform is silent on the issue.

The Quebec government has proposed legislation to hold a referendum on changes there in 2022.

Real Lavergne, the president of Fair Vote Canada, said he believes Trudeau aimed his electoral reform promise at Canadians who would otherwise have voted for the NDP or the Greens, causing many to vote strategically for the Liberals.

It was like a deal: vote for me this time and you wont have to do it ever again, said Lavergne.

Melanee Thomas, a political-science professor at the University of Calgary, said the desire for change after nearly a decade of former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper likely played a bigger role in how people voted than an issue like electoral reform did.

Still, Thomas said the promise of electoral reform might have convinced more people to vote strategically in 2015 than usually would.

Thomas, who studies voter behaviour, said she expects strategic voting to return to playing a minimal role in why people vote.

I think all this has done is dropped enthusiasm for the potential for strategic voting, she said.

Leadnow, another registered third-party group in favour of electoral reform, devoted its efforts to a strategic-voting campaign in the 2015 election.

This time around, however, Leadnow is focusing on climate change.

Fair Vote Canada is also endorsing a handful of other candidates who have expressed support for electoral reform.

That includes Liberal Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, who apologized to his constituents when the Trudeau government halted its efforts on electoral reform.

Erskine-Smith is seeking re-election in Beaches-East York, another Toronto seat the Liberals took from the NDP in 2015.

The issue does come up at the doorstep and he shares voters frustration when it does, he said, but tries to focus on the good things he thinks the Liberals have done.

I think we have to be wary of the promises that we make if we cant keep them, and how we walk away from promises, because we dont want to create cynicism, he says.

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The Liberals broke their promise on electoral reform. Will it hurt them in 2019? - National Post

The importance of enhancing the relevance of the liberal arts to students today (opinion) – Inside Higher Ed

Much of early American literature is intensely connected to its audience -- Native American creation myths, the Puritans thundering sermons to sinners in the pews, and enslaved Africans writing their lives to not only document their identity but also rally sympathetic readers. Thus, the relationship between speaker, subject and audience is a key discussion topic in early American literature classrooms. As Aristotle wrote in his 350 BCE Treatise on Rhetoric, it is the audience -- or as Aristotle called it, the hearer -- who must be either a judge or an observer, and who determines the speech's end and object.

Thinking about the rhetoric of early American texts made me realize just how quickly we can forget our audience when a viewpoint is one with which we already agree. Take the continuing national and strident calls to value the liberal arts. I realized that I had always assumed I knew who the audience was for the pleas to uphold liberal learning. And it was certainly not I, since my educational and professional bona fides as an English professor and chief academic officer at a liberal arts college clearly establish my commitments.

But what if I assumed that I, in fact, was the intended audience? What if I was the person who needed to hear that institutions of higher education should provide more than narrow vocational training and seek to enhance students capacities for lifelong learning? What if my own courses, not anonymous colleges and universities, need to be the sites of intended outcomes?

Asking myself those questions, I redesigned my early American literature survey. This is the literature of Native Americans, European explorers and colonists, enslaved Africans, and then, eventually, as the United States of America established itself, of writers many students recognize from high school: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass. I was interested in giving students the opportunity to see the relevance of studying early American literature, how it fosters intellectual inquiry about significant questions and issues confronting us now. Early American authors wrote profound ideas about issues of immigration, migration and family; borders, cultures and homelands; religious influences, commercial endeavors, race and ethnicity in American society, and political differences. They also tackled questions about the role of science and the presence of truth and falsehood. Those are, of course, issues we still think about today.

What I realized, however contradictory it sounds, is that I actually needed to redevelop my course to focus on contemporary early American literature, so that my current students could see themselves, their ideas and their world in readings that often seem so foreign and historically remote.

Making Connections

That happened in two ways. First, I assigned students to not only examine key concepts in the texts but also to make a connection to something else they were studying, reading or watching unfold in American life. Upon reflection, students saw the benefits to such an approach. One offered, If you understand what you can about the past, you see how the present comes to be. Maybe you can even see the future. Another student rhetorically asked, What is 2018 without 1492, 1630, 1776 or 1865?

Not surprisingly, connections to current news about immigration and migration dominated, as did seemingly inextricable connections between politics and religion at both the national and state level. My students were paying attention to the news, and they were seeing philosophical antecedents and approaches to current events in the literature of early America. Wed periodically interrupt our literature discussions to talk about the relationships they were seeing across the centuries and discuss how literature, and our theoretical approaches, offered a different perspective than history or political science.

My students were sometimes surprised that the antecedents of strongly held American opinions, including their own, were centuries old. They also appreciated hearing directly from the primary texts of people who actually lived through the times, noting that Its a lot easier to think of Ben Franklin as an actual person, rather than just a smart dude who owned a kite.

The second opportunity students had to consider the relevance of early American literature was in a writing assignment that came near the end of the course. I asked them to write a Dear American public manifesto. The prompt read, Weve spent a term studying American literature that was written by both U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens, texts that are hundreds of years old and generations removed from us today in terms of time and culture -- and perhaps even in philosophy and temperament. Weve also spent our time reading literature, what many pundits (and maybe even people you know) these days point to as a worthless endeavor, a quaint and archaic education, a privilege that doesnt pay off for the reader (you). Your task is to tell all of these pundits that theyre wrong. To do so, youll write a manifesto, your public declaration of why its relevant to study early American literature today.

Someone did ask to write a manifesto arguing that early American literature was not relevant, and I said that was fine if they strongly held that opinion. I was interested, I told the class, in their strength of argument as they connected early American literature to contemporary responses. Ultimately, perhaps not surprisingly, no student did argue for irrelevancy.

What was surprising, in delightful and affirming ways, were the reasons students gave in advocating for the contemporary relevance of early American literature. They made the requisite jokes about trivia contests but really just to set up the far more substantive reasons they wrote about. Many students talked about the importance of knowing whats come before, of seeing what each successive generation or period was responding to. One student argued that our country is full of ghosts before there even was an America, [people] fought disease and an unforgiving landscape and one another. Now, we fight viewpoints and ideas, and processes ingrained deeply in our society and government -- processes and ideas and views that may have existed ever since they were fighting disease and the land and each other.

Some students noted the clear ancestors of religious fervor in some political messages today; one even quoted a series of religio-political ads in her hometown that sounded remarkably similar to the messaging of Puritan sermons. Those students who were more widely read in 20th-century American literature saw how the Modernist period emerged from Hawthorne and Whitman. Others noted the introduction of industrial workers as mid-19th-century production developed. Many of my students were from towns and cities where certain factories had closed or production had moved elsewhere; they had family members affected by those economics and had stories of working conditions that were eerily familiar to their readings.

Power in the Grassroots

Like so many political movements -- and preserving and evolving the liberal arts is a vital political movement for higher education today -- theres power in the grassroots and local. My examples come from my own discipline, but every discipline and institution can offer to:

Its not enough to passively continue with the same curriculum and hope that students, their families, politicians and the public at large re-recognize the value in what we do. It is time to actively demonstrate how our disciplines have evolved to connect our students to the world of today and to identify other curricular and co-curricular areas on the campus that they enrich. Despite its grim title, Eric Hayot offers several ideas in Decline in the Humanities: The Sky Is Falling, published in the Modern Language Associations Profession.

Academic programs that can draw a solid line from their courses to knowledge, skills, competencies and other workforce measures now may be more indispensable than others. Likewise, academic departments that can draw a second solid line from their courses to knowledge, skills, competencies and other measures for lifelong learning and quality of intellectual and creative life also may now be more valuable than others. All liberal arts disciplines can rightfully claim these pathways, but some of us have not yet drawn the sharpest connections, and its the responsibility of both faculty members and academic administrators to do so.

National organizations have been actively assembling repositories of evidence in support of the liberal arts. The National Humanities Alliance, for example, has a tool kit, Studying the Humanities: Making the Case, that provides support for connections between the liberal arts and work and life. But in addition to this broader evidence, students should experience how the learning in our own courses transfers into their lives after college.

In lower-level courses that many students use to fulfill general education requirements, assignments should be relevant and contemporary. Podcasts, websites or grant proposals instead of an(other) essay of literary analysis, for example, offer students valuable experience with technological, visual, aural and written argument -- all skill areas theyll need after they graduate. A project that applies course readings to a contemporary social issue that students feel passionately about broadens their critical perspective of the issue and reinforces the validity of the disciplines voice. That makes the work for our courses applicable to something else in students lives, and they begin to see relevance instead of requirement.

If all of this seems like too much work or too much change -- if it seems like selling out, losing the purity of the liberal arts, diminishing the value of disciplines or capitulating to the whims of the marketplace -- then, clearly, other means of persuasion are needed. But to those of us who have heard the call to value the liberal arts and are energized by the responsibility to demonstrate that value to our students today, who are willing to consider that new relationships with our students can change the way we do our work in positive ways and who are willing to see possibility and promise ahead and have ideas about how we can connect at our local levels, I say lets get to work.

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The importance of enhancing the relevance of the liberal arts to students today (opinion) - Inside Higher Ed

Kicked out of the party, but not out of politics: Ex-Liberal Jane Philpott holding her own as independent – National Post

MARKHAM, Ont. It was perhaps no coincidence that Liberal leader Justin Trudeau was campaigning Wednesday in the riding once held by former trusted, high-profile Cabinet minister Jane Philpott.

Philpott, the former Liberal Treasury Board president, was turfed by Trudeau from the party after she publicly said she had no confidence in the prime ministers handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Now Philpott, well-known and well-liked in the Markham-Stouffville riding, is standing as an independent and is more than holding her own.

Philpott believes that there is a grassroots, anti-establishment phenomenon of sorts taking place in this riding a largely white, middle-class suburb north of Toronto that is simply not being reflected in mainstream polling data.

In fact, she and her team were so sure about this that they recently commissioned Oracle Poll Research to conduct a survey of 301 voters in the riding, which showed Philpott in the lead, with 38 per cent of decided voters saying that would chose her as their MP. The poll showed Liberal candidate Helena Jaczek coming in at 35 per cent, and Conservative candidate Theodore Antony at 10 per cent.

We have been tracking that I have a three to one advantage amongst decided voters. Thats not what most polls are saying, but thats what were hearing after talking to thousands of people, Philpott said, in an interview with the Post, this past Saturday, just minutes before hitting the road for yet another day of door knocking.

Days after releasing the poll results on her blog, Trudeau descended upon Markham, campaigning with Liberal candidates in the area, including Jaczek.

Since the writ drop, Philpott says that her campaign has knocked on 26,868 doors in a riding with a population of 126,000 people. They have less than two weeks, and roughly 16,000 doors left to go. But with over 350 volunteers, and more than enough cash till election day, theres a palpable feeling of optimism in her campaign office, more than one would expect of a candidate running as an independent in a Westminster system, where party brand reigns supreme and party loyalty runs deep.

It was this aspect of caucus politics party discipline that caused Philpott to clash so publicly with her leader, citing an incompatibility between the conventions of Cabinet solidarity and her own loss of confidence in Trudeaus handling of the SNC affair. And it was similarly this rejection of party discipline, that ultimately pushed Philpott to run as an independent, free from the structural rigidity of party messaging.

There seemed to be unwritten messages and rules about how much youre allowed to disagree with the party. If people disagreed in certain formats, there would be negative consequences, Philpott said. I feel sad about the circumstances that led to me being kicked out. I dont regret what I did by standing up and saying SNC-Lavalin was wrong but I shouldnt have been kicked out of the party for saying that.

I dont regret what I did by standing up and saying SNC-Lavalin was wrong

While door knocking, Philpott, the incumbent, is repeatedly praised for breaking with tradition and taking a stand on SNC. Youre a champion. You go get them, said one voter, excitedly embracing the former health minister.

It helps that Philpott spent a good chunk of her career as a family doctor in Stouffville.

I just want to tell you that Im so proud of what you did, and youre definitely getting my vote, said another voter on the same street, a former patient of Philpotts. Can I put a sign on your lawn? Philpott asks tentatively, not wanting to take up too much time, mindful that it was still relatively early on a weekend morning.

At another house, there was some confusion and concern about what an independent MP will be able to accomplish in Ottawa. This sentiment was expressed often, by numerous constituents, but Philpott had her talking points ready to go: independent MPs will be able to speak solely on behalf of their constituents, unlike partisan MPs who have to follow party messaging; politics can be different and improved by more independents who can freely represent their constituents, and freely collaborate with other MPs.

At least once a week, one of her volunteers Naftali Nakhshon drives across the Greater Toronto Area all the way from the western Toronto suburb of Etobicoke to the north-eastern district of Stouffville to canvass.

Nakhshon, a middle-aged Israeli-Canadian who has a certain candour to his demeanour, isnt even able to vote for Philpott, because he doesnt reside in her riding.

In fact, he admits he will probably end up voting Conservative. I always vote Conservative, but its because we dont have a strong independent like her running in my riding. Shes brave, Nakhshon told the National Post, shortly after canvassing Philpotts riding.

It was this very intrigue with an alternative form of federal government representation beyond the main political parties that got Nakhshon interested in Philpotts campaign.

To a large extent, with her commitment to advancing reconciliation, advocating for a national pharmacare plan, and the condemnation of Bill 21 Quebecs ban on public service employees wearing religious symbols Philpotts platform has the sound and feel of the Liberal Party. She admits that she was courted by both the NDP and the Green Party in the aftermath of being ousted from the Liberal caucus, but did not feel it was fair to herself or to her constituents to wrap myself in another whole party colour and say thats who I am now.

That honesty, says Nakhshon, is exactly what is appealing to him about Philpott. I dont think most people in this campaign office will agree with where I stand politically, but look, were all sitting here together.

Philpott characterizes her actions this past spring as one that placed loyalty to the country above the party. I was trying to uphold the rule of law and say politicians should not interfere with criminal cases. That should not be a reason to be kicked out of your party, especially by somebody I served with complete loyalty for three and a half years. But I cant dwell on that, I have to move on.

Philpotts campaign manager, Jennifer Hess, who was also involved in her 2015 campaign, admits that there are challenges to not having the backing of a big party in running a campaign. But the campaign has surpassed expectations on two key aspects the number of volunteers, and donations. We have more money than we can legally spend. We were in the incredibly fortunate position to stop accepting donations.

The conventional rhetoric about Markham-Stouffville is that Philpotts candidacy will end up splitting the Liberal vote, but both Philpott and Hess believe that that logic might not hold up on Oct. 21.

There are a few very loyal partisan constituents who will vote for the party they have always voted for. But Ive had people tell me that they feel politically homeless, that they cant find a party they feel they belong in, said Philpott. There are definitely people who are interested in voting for an independent because they feel like it is an option for them and will demonstrate something outside of partisanship.

Pollster Philippe J. Fournier of 338canada.com, whose own data suggests that Philpott will end up in third place with just 18 per cent of the overall vote, rejects the idea that Philpotts anecdotal account of support shes getting at doors could indicate her chances of winning.

With all due respect to Ms. Philpott (and I mean this sincerely), lawn signs and what people tell candidates when door knocking are the most unscientific indicators. They absolutely dont mean a thing. Its spin at best, Fournier told the Post over email, prior to Philpotts team conducting the Oracle-commissioned survey. Philpotts gold and black lawn signs are evident throughout Markham-Stouffville there are either as many signs as both the Conservative and Liberal candidates respectively, or even more.

Any candidate of any party would never say on the record that things arent going well on the field. They just never would, Fournier added.

But at least on the surface, and perhaps unlike her former boss, Philpotts own determination to win does not come from the desire to further her personal political ambitions. I dont think of myself as having a political career. I think of using politics as a tool to serve Canadians. I really would not be doing this if I thought I couldnt accomplish something for good.

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Kicked out of the party, but not out of politics: Ex-Liberal Jane Philpott holding her own as independent - National Post

In their old ridings, Atlantic Canada’s Liberal and Conservative heavyweights lend a hand to newcomers – The Globe and Mail

The Northern Pulp mill looms in the distance on Front Street in Pictou, N.S., part of the federal riding of Central Nova.

Darren Calabrese/The Globe and Mail

When 28-year-old political newcomer Kody Blois won the federal Liberal nomination in Kings-Hants in May, he immediately sought the endorsement of former MP Scott Brison.

Mr. Brison, who was unbeatable in this sprawling rural riding outside Halifax for more than 20 years, until his retirement early this year, did more than give him just that. He has canvassed door to door with Mr. Blois, introduced him to the local Liberal base and taught him the art of campaigning in small Maritime towns where family and community connections matter a lot.

Mr. Blois knows well that without Mr. Brisons support, getting to Ottawa would be much more difficult.

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Scott Brison has been my MP since as long as Ive been aware of federal politics. You cant go anywhere in this riding without running into people who know him. He has so much brand recognition, said Mr. Blois after an all-candidates debate at a local fire hall.

In rural Nova Scotia, loyalty to individual politicians runs deep. Thats true from Kings-Hants to Central Nova, where former Tory cabinet minister Peter MacKay has been helping Conservative candidate George Canyon win over voters surprised at the country stars appointment by the party.

In this election, old-guard politicians across the province, from Bill Casey to Rodger Cuzner to Mark Eyking, are stepping aside to make way for new contenders.

Theyre quietly guiding the next generation of candidates, passing on decades of experience while helping them prepare for local debates or introducing them to influential supporters in their ridings.

But theyre also wary of inserting themselves too much in local campaigns.

New candidates need to learn things on their own and step out from the shadow of the MP they want to replace, Mr. Cuzner said. In his riding of Cape Breton-Canso, hes helped where he can, but newcomer Mike Kelloway has also tried to do things his own way, bringing in a younger crop of volunteers to run his campaign.

Weve been around such a long time that a lot of the older volunteers have also said its time to step back and let some younger people get involved and carry the torch, Mr. Cuzner said. Ill do what I can to help Mike be successful. But he knows hes got to go out and make his own mark. He has to find his own way."

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Clockwise from top left: Scott Brison, then-Liberal MP for Kings-Hants, in the House of Commons in 2018; Kody Blois, the new Liberal candidate for Kings-Hants, with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in Elmsdale, N.S., this past August; Peter MacKay, then Conservative MP for Central Nova, in 2009; George Canyon, current Conservative candidate in Central Nova, at the 2013 Canadian Country Music Awards in Edmonton.

The Canadian Press

Mr. MacKay has introduced Mr. Canyon to the local Conservatives base, offered tips on how to talk policy and has been a behind-the-scenes coach in a riding he served for almost two decades, guiding the rookie through a tight race with Liberal MP Sean Fraser. The riding has traditionally been Mr. MacKays family fiefdom, with 40 years of representation between himself and his father, Elmer, a Mulroney-era cabinet minister.

Mr. MacKay whose supporters are reportedly laying the groundwork for a possible Conservative leadership bid lives in Toronto now but said he was asked to run for the Tories again in Central Nova. With three kids under six, though, he said the timing wasnt right. Instead, he encouraged Mr. Canyon to run after the local nominee stepped down and the party went looking for a star candidate to drop in.

Not everyone here likes how that happened.

People think its a joke. He came second in a singing contest, moved to Nashville or wherever, changed his name and now hes back as a hero, said Candace MacDonald, the owner of a smoking supply store in New Glasgow. New Glasgow is a town where you have to stick it out. You cant just parachute in here and expect to win.

But those who dismiss Mr. Canyon as just a country singer who left for Alberta are underestimating his political abilities, Mr. MacKay argues.

I think hes got a compelling story. Hes got a lot more to offer beyond stage presence and a cowboy hat, he said. I think hes going to surprise people.

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Candace MacDonald, shown at her New Glasgow smoking supply store, is skeptical of Mr. Canyon's candidacy in Central Nova.

Darren Calabrese/The Globe and Mail

A farm near Brookfield, N.S., in the riding of Cumberland-Colchester. Mr. MacKay was asked to run again in the riding, but encouraged Mr. Canyon to give it a try instead.

Photos: Darren Calabrese/The Globe and Mail

The former cabinet minister has leaned on his network of conservatives inside and outside the riding to boost Mr. Canyons chances. At the opening of the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government last month at St. Francis Xavier University, Mr. MacKay spent the morning introducing the candidate to the crowd of invited guests, which included former Conservative staffers and politicians.

Jim Bickerton, a professor of political science at the university, said Mr. Brisons and Mr. MacKays strong personal followings are unusual in politics. While that influence can fade the longer someone is out of office, people in rural ridings tend to have long memories and remember how a former cabinet minister helped them or their community.

I think George Canyon will benefit from all those years of building up loyal, Conservative voters, Prof. Bickerton said. Peter has such a strong reputation here, hes very highly regarded so if hes involved, that could rally people."

But not everyone is convinced the support of prominent Tories can help Mr. Canyon turn the riding blue again.

In 2015, the Conservative establishment was also trying to help the local candidate and it didnt make a lick of difference, said Mr. Fraser, the Liberal MP who is seeking re-election.

People can see through the commentary that this has always been a Conservative riding. I think people here are more open-minded than theyre given credit for.

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Mr. Blois, the Kings-Hants Liberal candidate, and Mr. Trudeau meet guests at a caf in Elmsdale on Aug. 16.

Riley Smith/The Canadian Press

In Kings-Hants, Mr. Brison also lent his young protg his former campaign manager, Dale Palmeter, the architect of Mr. Brisons seven electoral victories in the riding since 1997. Together, they won election after election, despite Mr. Brison switching parties and coming out as gay in a traditionally conservative riding.

Scott treated every election he ran in as if it was his first, Mr. Palmeter said. In rural communities, people know you or they know your cousin or they know people who know you. They want to see you engage with them.

But Mr. Bloiss rivals, including Conservative candidate Martha MacQuarrie and the NDPs Stephen Schneider, see an opportunity with Mr. Brison finally out of the way. Ms. MacQuarrie says voters are angry at what she calls failing Liberal branding, while Mr. Schneider argues the electorate isnt thrilled about any of the party leaders. With Mr. Brison gone, each believes their party has its best chance in years to win here.

Editors note: An earlier version of this article included an incorrect last name for Jim Bickerton.

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In their old ridings, Atlantic Canada's Liberal and Conservative heavyweights lend a hand to newcomers - The Globe and Mail

Northern Ontario gun owners fear ‘intentionally vague’ Liberal plan will lead to wider gun ban – CBC.ca

The Crean Hill Gun Club is one of the only places inGreater Sudbury where you can legally shoot a handgun or a restricted rifle.

Club president Steve Hogan says a proposed Liberal ban on "military-style" firearms will do nothing to stop gun violence in major Canadian cities, andonly hurt sport shooters like him and his some 200 members.

"We feel very much as though we're being punished for somebody else's sins," he says.

"Because they know where we live, they know what guns we have because we're forced to register everything and it's easy for them to take them;whereas taking guns from the criminals who are shooting one another and innocent people is hard work."

Hogan worries the lack of specifics in the Liberal proposal could see even hunting rifles made illegal one day.

"It's written intentionally vague so it can mean whatever you want it to mean," he says.

Nickel Belt Liberal candidate and incumbent MPMarc Serre says the plan is to consult the RCMP on which weapons should be banned and then the government wouldbuy them from gun owners.

He says for him the focus is on protecting hunters, not those who want to own a gun designed for military use.

"That's not a hunting rifle. These are machines that have been fabricated, manufactured to kill people," Serre says.

The Liberals are also promising to give police and border guards more money to fight the flow of illegal guns from the U.S.

Serresays he made sure before the party moved forward with this proposal that it wouldn't affect hunters in northern Ontario.

When his uncle Benoit Serre was the local MP in the 1990s, he broke party ranks andvoted against his own Liberal government plans for a long gun registry.

That same registry was a thorny issue for NDP MPsin the northeast in 2011, who initially voted with the Conservative government to scrap it, but most were eventually whipped into voting to keep it.

This time, the NDP are making a similar promise asthe Liberals to "keep assault weapons and illegal handguns off our streets and to tackle gun smuggling and organized crime." However, the partydoes notlay out how that would be done.

The Green Party says it too would buy back assault weapons from Canadians who currently own them legally, but it would also look to buy back handguns as well.

The Conservatives are making a similar pledge, also saying they'll toughen the penalties for those convicted of gun crimes.

Sudbury psychologist Lorraine Champagne would like to hear the parties talk more about mental health services when it comes to gun crime.

She was one of several dozen women who fired a gun for the first time at a charity shooting event for women at the Crean Hill Gun Club earlier this month.

Champagne says there really is no "mental health system" in Canada, with most counselling services not funded by the provincial government.

"Rather than just looking at the gun, we need to look at the mental health services people need."

Link:

Northern Ontario gun owners fear 'intentionally vague' Liberal plan will lead to wider gun ban - CBC.ca

On immigration, Liberals and Conservatives agree on targets but not on how to get there – Toronto Star

OTTAWAIn the months leading up to the federal election, many political observers in Ottawa thought immigration issues would figure prominently in the campaign.

The Conservative opposition had spent months between 2017 and 2019 hammering the Liberal government on their handling of a spike in asylum claimants crossing into Canada, mostly at a single point on Quebecs southern border.

The Liberals, for their part, continued to trumpet Canadas openness to immigrants and refugees something Justin Trudeau had highlighted since the 2015 campaign with his partys commitment to take in more refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.

But over the course of the campaign, including the two official leaders debates last week, immigration has taken a back seat to issues like climate change, or how the various leaders would save you a buck if they formed government.

That might be because, in spite of the rhetoric and the politicking, Canadas mainstream political parties have a broad consensus on immigration being key to the countrys continued economic and social well-being.

But there are important differences in both tone and policy between the Liberals and the Conservatives the two parties which have the most realistic shot of governing. How would the first six months of a Conservative or a Liberal government differ?

The Star looks ahead at what this election could mean for Canadas immigration policies and for people hoping to make it to Canadian shores.

Liberal majority

Naturally, a Liberal majority would represent the least change from Canadas current immigration levels. The Liberals have been steadily increasing planned immigration levels since taking office in 2015, and would continue to do so if they were re-elected.

According to the federal governments immigration levels plan, Canada would aim to grow the number of immigrants from 330,800 in 2019, to 350,000 in 2021. Most of these, around 60 per cent, come through Canadas economic stream for immigration skilled workers to fill needs in the economy.

The Liberal party says it will enact modest and responsible increases in immigration, with a focus on attracting highly skilled workers.

A Liberal government would introduce a municipal nominee program that would allow local communities to directly sponsor permanent immigrants and it would make permanent a separate program to encourage immigration to Atlantic Canada. A minimum of 5,000 spaces would be earmarked for each program. The Liberals say they would also waive citizenship fees for permanent residents.

The number of refugees admitted into Canada fluctuates year-to-year, although irregular migration at the Canada-U.S. border where asylum claimants have been crossing outside recognized ports of entry in hopes of securing refugee status decreased in 2019 compared to previous years.

Conservative majority

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer largely agrees with the Liberal governments proposed immigration targets of 350,000 newcomers in 2021. Scheer told the CBC this month that immigration levels should not be politicized.

This should be a number that Statistics Canada and experts in various fields say we need this many people to come to fill the gaps in the workplace, or to ensure we have a growing population, combined with a humanitarian component for family reunification and refugees, Scheer said.

So dont expect a new Conservative government to drastically change course on the top-level numbers. The Conservatives main point of difference with the Liberals is the situation at Roxham Road in Quebec.

Since 2017, more than 50,000 people have crossed the Canada-U.S. border outside of a border services checkpoint. Once they reach Canadian soil, Canada has an obligation under both domestic and international law to give their asylum claims a fair hearing.

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While the numbers have decreased year-over-year since 2017, when U.S. President Donald Trumps administration started threatening specific groups with deportation, the Conservatives have continued to heap criticism on the Liberals handling of the file.

Last week, Scheer announced that a Conservative government would attempt to renegotiate the Safe Third Country Agreement with the Trump administration. The bilateral agreement requires those seeking asylum to make their claim in either the U.S. or Canada, whichever they arrive in first. But convincing the hardline Trump administration to take in more refugees would be an uphill battle particularly as Trump seeks re-election.

Scheer said there are other options if the U.S. is unwilling to renegotiate the agreement although declined in his news conference to say what those options were. A Scheer government would also hire an additional 250 officers for the Canada Border Services Agency, a significant increase in the agencys inland enforcement workforce.

The Conservatives would also prioritize funding to immigration services like language training and credential recognition, in addition to emphasizing services to vulnerable newcomers.

Minority government

All the parties recognize the importance of immigration to Canadas economy at a time when the countrys workforce is aging and concerns mount about labour shortages. This could open the door to more economic immigration as well as increased efforts to recognize the credentials of professionals trained abroad. And three parties want changes to Canadas Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States although in very different ways.

The Green party wants it terminated, the NDP says suspend it and the Conservatives want changes, to prevent asylum seekers from the U.S. from making claims when they arrive at unofficial border crossings. The Liberals said only that it would work with the U.S. to modernize the agreement.

But a Liberal minority government could come under opposition pressure for more drastic changes.

The NDP say that Canada has an important role to play taking in refugees. New Democrats and Green party members want to speed family reunification. Both want to crack down on unscrupulous immigration consultants.

The Green party wants the accreditation of foreign professionals expedited to speed their entry into the workforce. It would eliminate the temporary foreign workers program by increasing immigration levels and working with employers to assist with permanent residency. And it says that Canada must be ready to take in environmental refugees, those who have been displaced by the impacts of climate change.

The Choice is a Toronto Star series where we take the issues that matter in this election and tell you what your vote will mean.

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On immigration, Liberals and Conservatives agree on targets but not on how to get there - Toronto Star

I dont get the intense hatred for the Liberals – Toronto Star

This column is about the Liberal party. Im afraid it will contain more questions than answers. At the least, the questions will be better than the answers.

And so vehemently. This is based mainly on my mail. Nothing evokes sputtering rage indicating loss of control, leading probably to self-disgust like anything I write about Liberals that could be read positively. I can only compare it to the bilious American responses when I sometimes appeared on shows like Bill OReillys. (Ive never been a Liberal, btw, Id call myself an independent left socialist and doubt Ive ever written anything suggesting otherwise.)

Is it that Liberals seem to have no raison dtre and if they did it was long ago? Is it that they seemed born to fail, back in 1861, and for their first 40 years, aside from one spurt in office, did fail. Later, the NDP/CCF shouldve brushed them aside. Yet theyre still here exercising power!

That bottomless fury baffles me. Sometimes I wonder if its simply that Liberals dont seem to take anything too seriously, including their principles, to whatever extent they exist, and usually look like theyre having a good time anyway. By journalistic consensus they host the best parties, in the other sense of party. The Liberal party may make more sense than the Liberal Party.

Its spectacular how often theyve been prematurely interred. In 1958, John Diefenbakers Progressive Conservatives decimated them, yet they returned for the Pierre Trudeau and then Jean Chretien years. In 2011, a mere eight years ago, pundits and experts proclaimed a new right-wing era for Canada, with the Liberals obsolete. For decades, theyve had zero mainstream media support, aside from the Star.

What preserves them? Perhaps an instinct for the political zeitgeist. In the 1800s, that meant electoral reform, which they embraced in the form of extending the ballot and making it secret. They also adopted another 1800s loss leader, the nation-state, which in Canada meant reconciling French and English so the Liberal, Laurier, became our first francophone PM. That project wasnt completed till 1982, with constitutional patriation under Pierre Trudeau, but weve always been a bit slow. Trudeau saw himself as Laurier revisited.

The 1900s were largely about extending the welfare state via activist governments (the New Deal, the Russian Revolution). Liberal leader Mackenzie King, the Platonic model of a pol without principles, sensed that drift while working for John Rockefeller in Colorado, helping him strike-break. (He proved his worth by inventing the company union.) So he introduced family allowances and old age pensions; later Liberals added medicare. The NDP think Liberals stole those ideas from them but really they swiped them from the 20th century.

Multiculturalism began under Pierre Trudeau as a gimmick to undermine Quebec separatism. It acquired legs of its own with Justin Trudeau, becoming diversity is our strength. Threaded in with globalization and trade deals, it may represent the spirit of the 2000s. Even Justins contradictions and apologies catch the mood of the age: self-criticism, personalization, confessionalism. Maybe it helps to be unanchored in serious principles: it lets you sniff out the temper of the times and accommodate it. Is that vrai liberalism?

This time they really shouldve been done. The Wilson-Raybould affair ought to have sufficed. When it didnt quite, along came the blackface. If the Tories had cashed in, or still do, it will be richly ironic that Liberals reneged on their 2015 promise of electoral reform: to never again hold an election where a minority of votes leads to virtually total power.

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They couldve passed a mixed voting system (representatives plus PR) with multi-party (minus Conservative) support. Or their preference, a ranked ballot, if theyd had the guts to ram it through, as Stephen Harper surely would have.

Instead they chickened out, supposing theyd rule forever. But if they now win a minority, what deal can they make with other parties (minus the Tories) to retain power? Nothing on climate, theyre too far apart. But they could agree on electoral reform, which would be unspeakably ironic. Theyd keep power, and fulfil their promise too. These damn Liberals cant lose for winning.

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I dont get the intense hatred for the Liberals - Toronto Star

How White Liberals Became Woke, Radically Changing Their Outlook On Race – NPR

Jeromy Brown, 46, poses for a photo with Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Brown, like many progressive voters, thinks 2020 presidential candidates should "not equivocate" in calling Trump a white supremacist. Asma Khalid/NPR hide caption

Jeromy Brown, 46, poses for a photo with Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Brown, like many progressive voters, thinks 2020 presidential candidates should "not equivocate" in calling Trump a white supremacist.

Jeromy Brown, a 46-year-old teacher in Iowa, considers President Trump a white supremacist.

"If the shoe fits, then say it, and the shoe fits him," Brown said, while waiting in a photo line at an Elizabeth Warren rally in August. "Why should he be excused from that label?"

Brown, like many white liberal voters, appreciates that some Democratic presidential candidates have begun explicitly referring to Trump as a white supremacist. His top choice, Warren, told The NPR Politics Podcast in August that "when the white supremacists call Donald Trump one of their own, I tend to believe them."

But she's not alone in using such strong and direct language. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has repeatedly referred to Trump as a "racist" on the campaign trail. And former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke insists that tackling white supremacy should be the No. 1 law enforcement priority in the country.

Undoubtedly, race and racism have become more salient political issues because of how the president talks about immigrants and minorities.

But the shift in how white liberals think about race actually predates both the president's victory and the response from 2020 Democratic candidates.

Beginning around 2012, polls show an increasing number of white liberals began adopting more progressive positions on a range of cultural issues. These days, white Democrats (and, in particular, white liberals) are more likely than in decades past to support more liberal immigration policies, embrace racial diversity and uphold affirmative action.

Researchers say this shift among white liberals indicates a seismic transformation in the last five to seven years and not just a blip on one or two survey questions.

"The white liberals of 2016 or even 2014 are very distinguishable from the white liberals of the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s," said Zach Goldberg, doctoral student at Georgia State University who has been studying the change.

In poll after poll, on a range of racial issues, both Goldberg and another researcher, Andrew Engelhardt at Brown University, have independently discovered repeated evidence of a more left-leaning white Democratic electorate.

These days, a large majority of white liberals nearly 3 in 4 say discrimination is the main reason black people can't get ahead.

Don't see the graphic above? Click here.

For some context, in the early 2000s, white liberals were split on that question about half said blacks who couldn't get ahead were mostly responsible for their own condition.

Don't see the graphic above? Click here.

An increasing number of white liberals now think the criminal justice is biased against black people. An increasing number of white liberals also say the police are more likely to use deadly force against black people.

And, more white Democrats say the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism, rather than Southern pride. The reverse was true in 2000.

Don't see the graphic above? Click here.

Some metrics even seem to be suggesting that white Democrats express more woke attitudes than their fellow brown and black Democrats.

Goldberg cited the 2018 American National Election Studies pilot survey, which found that 78% of white Democrats thought having more races/ethnicity in the country make it a "better" place to live. Fifty-seven percent of black Democrats, and 63% of Hispanic Democrats said the same.

Don't see the graphic above? Click here.

About two years ago, Engelhardt said he also noticed another major shift.

"Starting about 2016 ... white liberals actually rate non-white groups more positively than they do whites," explained Engelhardt. "Usually, it's the opposite."

Most racial groups feel more warmly about their own race than they do about other races. That's true for every group, except white liberals, according to the American National Election Studies.

Engelhardt says these recent flips suggests there's something about being white in America that white liberals are trying to distance themselves from something that could be accelerated by the rhetoric and tone of Trump and some of his supporters.

When white liberals adopt some of these progressive positions, Goldberg said, they're "virtue signaling" they want to prove that they're allies of minority groups and feel they need to do that more assertively and openly in the Trump era.

Although Trump did not create the current conditions, both Goldberg and Engelhardt agree the president has accelerated the change in white voter attitudes.

Brown, from the Warren rally, derided some of his fellow white people for being "white supremacists" who think they are the only people "with the real birthright claim on this land, even though that makes no sense whatsoever."

Engelhardt also suggests white guilt could be a motivating factor.

At an O'Rourke rally in Iowa a few weeks ago, 64-year-old Polly Antonelli teared up as the former congressman recounted a story from the El Paso, Texas, shooting. The suspected shooter in that incident had told police he was targeting Mexicans.

Antonelli said it's "highly appropriate" to refer to Trump as a white supremacist.

"He is the one dividing people, by saying the things that he says about Muslims, about Mexicans, about s******* countries," she said. "Calling him out on his crap might sound divisive, but it's a reaction to his divisiveness."

Antonelli admits that her own opinions on race have evolved as she learned more about different cultures.

"I realize how little I know and how I need to be more careful about what I say and how I pigeonhole people because of how they look," she said, indicating a sense of cultural awareness you hear more often voiced by white liberals in recent years.

The "moral buttons" are being pushed

One possible explanation for the dramatic shift in racial attitudes in the last decade is that white Democrats who disagreed with the party's embrace of diversity have just abandoned the party altogether. But even though the makeup of the parties has fluctuated, that's not the only explanation; Researchers point to a genuine shift among the white liberals who have remained in the party.

"Whites' identification as Democrats and Republicans is motivating them to hold different attitudes about people of color in the United States," said Engelhardt.

Goldberg says he noticed an abrupt change around the time mainstream news outlets started picking up on social media accounts of fatal police shootings of black men.

"[White liberals'] exposure to injustice inequality has been heightened because of the internet," said Goldberg. "The moral buttons of white liberals are being more frequently pressed."

Engelhardt agrees, and pointed to one specific incident as a potential catalyst when a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014.

"This kind of renewed attention to discrimination is new and novel for white liberals," he said, explaining why there has not been as large of a shift among people of color on these survey questions, in part because they didn't need social media videos to know what was already happening in their communities.

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How White Liberals Became Woke, Radically Changing Their Outlook On Race - NPR

Live to debate another day not having easy answers is a liberal asset, not a moral failing – The German Times Online

Jeremiads about the state of liberal democracy and its institutions have been the dissonant theme of 2019. The West as a whole is in decline; NATO is obsolete; once proud and powerful parliaments and congresses have been rendered superfluous. Autocratic rulers like Russias Vladimir Putin, Chinas Xi Jinping and North Koreas Kim Jong-un seize the day while Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Jair Bolsonaro seem more inclined to emulate their governance than to stand up for the idea and the practice of liberty and a pluralistic society.

In Germany, the parties at the center are struggling to deal with the growing appeal of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), which is less a political body than the manifestation of a hodgepodge of racism, resentment and radical right-wing ideas. The party, barely six years old, has made considerable gains in recent regional elections, finishing second in two states (see page 1) without offering any coherent ideas of how to govern. Their slogans follow the drumbeat of most international far-right movements; they target immigrants and perceived elites while railing against what they refer to as the establishments tyranny of political correctness.

The AfD is built on the cult of the strongman, the crude longing for an authentic leader able and willing to put an end to the tedious game of politics and all the never-ending debating, negotiating and countervailing. They want their followers to believe that politics, the ever-muddy practice of true democracy, is practically and morally depraved and should be replaced by the dogged determination of a chosen one.

Sure enough, the dualistic conception of politics as either a game of eternally bound-to-fail compromise (played by those driven by the desire to debate another day) or ruling by fiat and forever is not an autocratic fad of 2019.

This dualist view of politics is reflected in Samuel Johnsons Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1759, which describes politics as the Science of Government, the art or practice of administering public affairs. Elsewhere in the dictionary, Johnson describes the politician not as an artist but one who is cunning and a man of artifice.

The contemporary German philosopher and political scientist Wolfgang Fach takes a modern view of Johnsons dichotomy. The contrast couldnt be greater: there the divine action, here the devilish actors, he writes in his treatise titled The Disappearance of Politics. Fach denotes the difference as POLITICS (in all caps, because of its quasi-divine nature), understood as the transcendent care of and for the entirety; on the other hand, common politics, engaged in by self-appointed Machiavellian men, whose thinking is engulfed by immoral haggling without prospects.

Fach diagnoses this tendency in all people, no matter their political affiliations: we want to believe in POLITICS, yet we despise the rigmarole of politics and find ever-new ways of forgetting or suppressing the latter, without acknowledging the intertwined nature of the two concepts. We are blinded, Fach notes, by the magic effect of the otherworldly promise.

In this vein, countries long proud of their mature democracies, including Germany since 1949, may be said to be witnessing a rather vulgar re-enchantment of the great political idea by a faction of strongmen in the last 10 years. The promise of transcendence through political action is increasingly secularized. The aspiration to lift up every citizen not to mention refugees from war and poverty around the world is discarded in favor of a more particular promise of salvation. Or, as Adam Gopnik writes in his recent book on the moral adventure of liberalism, A Thousand Small Sanities, everywhere we look, throughout Europe as much as in America, patriotism is being replaced with nationalism, pluralism by tribalism, impersonal justice by the tyrannical whim of autocrats who think only to punish their enemies and reward their hitmen.

Deprived of its universal claim, something once upheld by both liberal and conservative notions of democratic politics, todays strongman politics has embraced and indeed relies on simplistic concepts.

This is not just the ordinary argument for the necessity of expertise, impact analysis and inclusion of a plethora of perceptions in policymaking. The tax code, environmental regulation and government programs of all stripes rarely fit neatly into even the traditional categories of left and right, let alone the cruder ones of good and evil.

Nor is it the assertion that politics just happens to be a complicated technical affair better left to the elites and their dabblings in obscure jargon. The disapproval of political huskers and industry proxies rigging the game for the various 0.1-percenters can be spot-on; look no further than the global financial crisis of 2008, which was brought on by too much deregulation and unsound safeguarding by the state.

What appears to be perplexing about the electoral success of the strongmen is that few of their supporters actually believe their proposed policy ideas will help make their lives better. They share the oft-repeated grievances, the feeling of neglect, the perceived slights by proverbial liberal elites, the assumption that immigrants and minorities have been moved ahead of them to the top of the queue a version of this story is told in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and elsewhere.

The proposed countermeasures, if there are any, like walls, mass deportation or no-deal Brexit, are too expensive, impractical or sometimes even counterproductive.

And yet todays autocratic appeal, following Wolfgang Fachs theory, lies not in the actual substance, and not even in symbolic meaning that is, owning the libs or any other right-wing armchair battle cry.

In 2018, the historical anthropologist Thomas Bauer published a short yet weighty essay on the loss of ambiguity and diversity, The Disambiguation of the World. He traces the story of how modern societies lost their will and their ability to handle or even tolerate pluralist meanings from religion to the arts and politics. In many areas of life, the most attractive spiritual offerings are those promising release from the unnavigable ambiguity of the world. Bauer notes all the impersonal factors for this tendency: bureaucratization, technical advancements, mass-market consumer culture. But he also sees an express will of people to live in a more conclusive world.

Translated back into the world of democratic politics, it becomes clearer why a growing segment of the electorate in Western societies chooses to deny or obfuscate the science of climate change, the fact that minorities still face discrimination or that a strong government must level the playing field of the so-called open market in myriad ways.

In other words, whats needed is the normal, untidy and always tentative business of democracy. Democratic decision-making cannot claim to embody the sole truth such a claim would be counterintuitive to the essence of its undertaking. It is a series of temporary fixes, good only for as long as a new and hopefully better solution doesnt come along.

Compromise is not a sign of the collapse of ones moral conscience. It is a sign of its strength, for there is nothing more necessary to a moral conscience than the recognition that other people have one, too, writes Adam Gopnik. A compromise is a knot tied tight between competing decencies.

On the face of it, this version of democracy will always be less sexy than the siren songs of the strongman. In the struggle for democracy one might say the idea of the republic there is no reverse-engineering the transcendent act of turning politics into POLITICS. Democracys advocates politicians, voters and citizens can only engage in the conciliatory manner that has been lying at the core of the concept since its inception.

Lutz Lichtenbergeris senior editor of The German Times.

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Live to debate another day not having easy answers is a liberal asset, not a moral failing - The German Times Online

Liberal promise to end open-pen salmon farms in B.C. making waves on East Coast – CBC.ca

Canada's aquaculture industry is condemning a Liberal Party campaign promise to phase out open-pen salmon farms in British Columbia as "reckless" and "irresponsible," whilea Liberal candidate running for re-election in a salmon farming area in southern New Brunswick is also expressing reservations.

Karen Ludwig, who was elected MP for New Brunswick Southwest in 2015, said movingtoward closed-containment systems, which involvefarmingfish in land-based tanks or in pens walled off from the open ocean, "really is a long transition, if that's even going to happen."

"When we look at where science is at, I don't believe from what I've researched and heard that science is at this stage where we could go, where we can quickly make a transition to closed containment," she said.

The Liberal platform unveiled last weekend promises to develop a plan to transition from open-pen salmon farms to closed-containment ones on the West Coast by 2025.

The Canadian Aquaculture Associationand regional counterparts in Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador issued a joint statement Monday denouncing the promise as "not grounded in science" and "threatening" jobs.

Canadian president Tim Kennedy said the industry was caught by surprise since it had been working with the Liberal government before the election to expand the life of the fish grown on land while continuing to farm them in the ocean.

"What we're seeing with this commitment is a really reckless decision by the Liberal Party to move toward a technology that is not yet ripe, is not mature," Kennedy said.

"So, it would have very serious potential consequences for employment across Canada and for sustainable food production."

Kennedy saidthe promise also increases uncertainty in Atlantic Canada, even if the region's industry is not mentioned in the platform.

"You can't impose something as a national government in one area and expect it not to have implications for the rest of the country," he said.

"We have the same companies that are operating on both coasts, so it's a very, very negative signal."

A Liberal Party spokesperson told CBC News thepolicy applies only to the West Coast.

Ludwig's in no rush to see it brought to Atlantic Canada, which she said has a different marine environment, pointing to the massive tides that sweep into the Bay of Fundy daily.

"We're unique. We've had a very successful industry for 30 years. It may work in British Columbia. I'm not a representative from British Columbia, but I can say here that I will be working very closely with industry and be backing them up," Ludwig said.

Environmental groups have long called for a transition from open-net fish farming to closed-containment aquaculture, which they say would protect the marine environment from the waste, chemicals, escapes and sea lice associated with open-pensalmon farming.

"It's absolutely imperative that the industry be transitioned from open net-pen aquaculture with all of its environmental problems to closed containment," said Raymond Plourde, an environmentalist with the Halifax-based Ecology Action Centre.

"But it must occur on both coasts because the impacts are exactly the same on both coasts."

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Liberal promise to end open-pen salmon farms in B.C. making waves on East Coast - CBC.ca

Yes, capitalism is broken. To recover, liberals must eat humble pie – The Guardian

Capitalism reigns. But capitalism is in trouble. Therein lies the paradox of our age. For the first time in human history, a single economic system spans the globe. Of course there are differences between capitalism Chinese-style, American-style and Swedish-style. Close up, these differences can seem significant. But viewed through a wider lens, the distinctions blur. As the economist Branco Milanovic writes in his new book, Capitalism Alone, the entire globe now operates according to the same economic principles production organized for profit using legally free wage labor and mostly privately owned capital, with decentralized coordination.

After the fall of Soviet communism in 1989, and Chinas embrace of the market, crowned by the nations entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, it seemed, for a brief flicker of human history, that the world was converging on a political economy of free markets in liberal democracies. As it turned out, markets spread, but without necessarily bringing more democracy or liberalism along with them.

Capitalism without democracy was assumed to be at most a passing phase. Eventually, so western liberal thinking went, China and other Asian nations adopting what Milanovic calls political capitalism free markets, but authoritarian politics would have to adopt liberal political institutions, too. But, so far, the liberalization thesis remains unproven. China has successfully adopted a market system and, even more importantly, a market culture without liberal democratic institutions.

Meanwhile, western democracies are in various states of crisis, struggling to contain a resurgent populism. To a large extent, they are reaping what they have sown. After the Berlin Wall fell, the western technocratic and political elite became complacent, hubristic, and arrogant. Over dinner in cosmopolitan cities, they discussed Fukuyamas The End of History, pushed further and faster towards freer trade and more porous borders, and insisted that inequality was being sanitized by meritocracy. The elite reformed our leftwing parties into Third Way parties, who swept to power: this was the era of Clinton, Blair and Schroeder. Yes, there were problems, but nothing beyond the reach of centrist technocratic solutions; a little retraining here, some social liberalization there.

Looking back, the era since the fall of the Berlin Wall seems like one of complacency, or opportunities lost, said the novelist Kazuo Ishiguro in his 2017 Nobel lecture. Enormous inequalities of wealth and opportunity have been allowed to grow ... and the long years of austerity policies imposed on ordinary people following the scandalous economic crash of 2008 have brought us to a present in which far right ideologies and tribal nationalisms proliferate. Racism is once again on the rise, stirring beneath our civilised streets like a buried monster awakening.

Western liberals thought they had won, because they looked around the world at burgeoning markets. But they missed the fact that they were losing, slowly but steadily, in their own backyards. As soon as working class voters were given outlets for their anger Donald Trump, Brexit it poured out of them. The populist stew is of course a complex concoction, mixing misanthropy and nativism with genuine concerns about economic prospects.

Western liberals thought they had won, because they looked around the world at burgeoning markets. But they missed the fact that they were losing in their own backyards

Political leaders, disoriented by the backlash, are tempted by cultural explanations, as Hillary Clintons unfortunate description of some of Trumps supporters as deplorables. The phrase was taken out of context before being bounced around every social media echo chamber. But today Trumps most ardent followers wear deplorable as a badge of honor. A decade ago, Barack Obama worried about folks who cling to guns or religion. When voters feel that they are being looked down on, they are sure to become angry.

Ishiguros accusation (a self-accusation, too, I should add) of complacency is exactly right. We made the economic arguments for free trade, automation and immigration on the grounds that on net, and in the long run, these are good for the economy. True, as a matter of economic fact. But what we paid insufficient attention to was the necessary implication that right now, some real people will lose out.

Policies to offer really substantial help to those most affected by change rarely made it to the top of the political agenda. Bill Clinton did too little to invest in workers even as he pursued free trade and sound money. Tony Blair did too little to manage immigration from other EU countries. And to be clear, at the time, I was emphatically on their side. But we were wrong. Here is just one example of the misdirection of resources. Before the passage of Trumps 2017 tax law, for every $1 the US government was spending on trade adjustment assistance for workers, it was spending almost $25 on tax subsidies to the endowments of elite colleges. Against a backdrop of rising inequality, this was unconscionable.

The question now, as posed by Bill Galston and others in this series, is whether the political leadership can be found to reform the political economy of nations like the US and UK, in the same spirit as during the 1930s and the postwar years. Right now is a bad time to answer that question, of course. The bilateral buffoonery of Trump and Boris Johnson suggests that things are going to get much worse before there is much chance they will get better.

For liberal democracy to recover, we will have to recast prevailing liberal philosophy, politics and economic policy. Philosophically, liberals will have to start by eating many slices of humble pie. It turned out to be a terrible mistake to assume that capitalism and democracy naturally go hand in hand. Perhaps an understandable one, given a certain historical view. Liberal democracy and liberal capitalism were, after all, twins, born of the European Enlightenment. But as history has shown repeatedly, they can be separated. It is simply wishful thinking to believe that some deep natural processes drive liberal causes. They have to be fought for, over and over and over again. Platos line about democracy being a wonderfully pleasant way of carrying on in the short run used to be a modernists laugh-line. But were not laughing now.

For liberal democracy to recover, we will have to recast prevailing liberal philosophy, politics and economic policy

Politically, the challenge is to reassert the authority of government over the market, not in order to cramp competition but in order to see it flourish. The corruption of government by powerful businesses is not a weird anomaly. It is precisely where market incentives lead; the currency of political economy is not money but power.

The fundamental concept in social science is Power, wrote the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, in the same sense in which Energy is the fundamental concept in physics. Writing in the pre-dawn of the second world war (his essay was published in 1938), Russell delineated various kinds of power: economic power, priestly power, hereditary power, power over opinion, naked power, and so on.

A free society, Russell insisted, requires institutions and cultures that keep each one of these forms of power in check, and stop them being converted easily one to the other. If economic power or priestly power can be readily turned into political power, for instance, we should be wary of the likely result. Democracies have to be constantly patrolling the borders between different sources of power. Separation of powers is a political principle, not just a constitutional one. Russell was concerned about power because he was a liberal. In fact, he was John Stuart Mills secular godson. (Both of them spent time in jail for their beliefs, but thats another story.)

The concatenation of political and economic power, especially in the US, is intrinsically damaging, as Matt Stoller showed in this series. The airline industry is a case in point. As Thomas Phillipon in The Great Reversal and Binyamin Applebaum in The Economists Hour both point out, it was under-regulated in the 1930s, over-regulated in the 1970s, and under-regulated again since. One of the most used measures of economic concentration, the snappily named Herfindahl-Hirschman Index, rose and fell in line with the extent to which the government enforced competition.

Muscular regulation is often required to ensure genuine competition but all too often, the political right has a knee-jerk reaction against regulation, and the political left has a knee-jerk reaction against competition. A competitive free market is a good thing. But like tabby cats, it does not exist in the wild.

Once again, what matters here is power. Democratic political systems and capitalist economic systems share an important and attractive feature, of diffusing power. When every vote counts equally, politicians are obliged to serve the people. When every dollar counts equally, companies are obliged to serve the people, too.

Capitalism works best when it acts in a centrifugal manner to disperse power, less well when it tends towards concentration

This diffusive feature is actually what puts the liberal in liberal democracy and liberal capitalism. At heart, both are massive power-sharing agreements. Capitalism works best when it acts in a centrifugal manner to disperse power, less well when it tends towards concentration. Right now, capitalism in many nations, including the US, is tending more towards centripetal than centrifugal capitalism as many of the essays in this series have shown, including from Ganesh Sitaranam.

Economic power is being concentrated geographically. Today 25 cities, most of them on the coasts, account for more than half of the US economy. Between 1960 and 1980, economic activity was dispersing across regions, reducing spatial inequality. Since 1980, the trend has been the other way, with activity becoming more concentrated in the coastal cities.

Neighborhoods are becoming more economically distinct, too: if you are rich, your neighbors are more likely to be rich than in the past likewise, if you are poor. Poorer neighborhoods are increasingly cut off, socially and geographically, from the sources of economic prosperity. Almost all (90%) of the poorest counties in 1980 were still at the bottom in 2016, according to research from the Hamilton Project at Brookings.

In terms of policy, the liberal consensus that growth would automatically spread and be shared has been shattered. New measures of distributional growth, as proposed by Heather Boushey, are badly needed. More broadly, both social and economic policy will have to shift resources aggressively to provide more support for children in middle and lower-income families, especially in terms of skills and education, as part of what Melissa Kearny dubs a new social contract.

The potential for well-structured, centrifugal capitalism to bring prosperity and choice continues to be demonstrated on a global scale. But this potential is not being realized within many of the countries that currently dominate the international economic scene.

Capitalism in its liberal variant is under serious pressure. But an inwards turn, away from markets, away from trade, away from competition, away from dynamism, would spell dark times indeed, not least for the very people currently most attentive to the bugle call of retreat from the populist movements of left and right. Capitalism may be broken, at least in places. But it is not beyond repair.

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Yes, capitalism is broken. To recover, liberals must eat humble pie - The Guardian


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