Smart Ideas: White Progressives Are Too Concentrated for Their Own Good

Plus, might Democrats try to pack the Supreme Court?

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
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Oct. 10, 2018, 8 p.m.

The limits of white leftism

Daniel McCarthy, writing for The Spectator

When Democrats rallied against Kavanaugh’s nomination, protesting outside the Supreme Court and in the halls of Capitol Hill, the majority of them “were as white as any country club gathering of Republicans. … Where were the black Democrats? Where were the non-yuppies?” That’s the problem with white liberalism—it fails to engage the Democratic base. “It’s too liberal for a majority of whites, yet too distant from the concerns of most nonwhites.” White liberalism may matter at elite institutions, but it does not represent a political force. For example, when Joe Manchin defected from his fellow Democrats to support Kavanaugh’s nomination, it might have cost him “the vote of every single New Yorker subscriber in West Virginia. That’s white liberalism’s problem in a nutshell. What voters it has are concentrated in places where their votes aren’t needed.”

In the end, Haley was a Trump enabler

John Nichols, writing for The Nation

Nikki Haley was never the “‘adult in the room’ who might break with the president on at least a few issues of consequence, or perhaps influence the administration to consider more thoughtful approaches to international affairs,” as many thought she could be given her past criticism of Trump. Instead, Haley provided "cover for the president’s most extreme and dangerous pronouncements and policies,” most notably his constant denigration of supranational institutions like the United Nations. Her role in promoting a downsizing, “with threats of cuts in U.S. aid and steady prodding to reduce the ambitions of the global body,” played a major role in that. Similarly, she backed Trump on pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and Paris climate agreement, and moving the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

President Trump and outgoing Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at the White House on Tuesday AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Democrats won’t pack the Supreme Court––probably

Jonathan Bernstein, writing for Bloomberg Opinion

Although packing the Supreme Court is perfectly constitutional, don’t expect the Democrats to try it in 2021. “For one thing, any Democratic majority in the Senate would likely include some fairly moderate liberals from swing or Republican states who won’t want any raw partisan fights over the Court.” They’ll also be focused on reversing Trump’s policies on “health care, climate change, voting rights,” and simply won’t have the bandwidth for the “raw partisan fight” over the Supreme Court. The “wild card” is what Chief Justice John Roberts and the conservative justices do. If they begin knocking out “core programs of the Great Society and the New Deal,” then Democrats could reconsider. Democratic court-packing to exact revenge or to achieve a policy goal is unlikely. But if Democrats “believe it’s the only way to fight back against an aggressive court, then it certainly could be on the table.”


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