The American left will be reborn under President Trump

Clintonian-centrism was defeated in November, but attempts to repeal Obamacare show the Republicans are weak and divided. Now is the time for the left to craft a populist alternative

Owen Jones: The Guardian posted 01/21/17

 

Donald Trump is now the most powerful man on Earth. You would expect the American left to be despondent; it’s not. The left is stronger than it has been for decades. They are up against a president who lost the popular vote, who assumes office with the lowest approval rating on record, and whose party is riven by divisions. In November, Clintonian-centrism – whose compelling selling point was the ability to win – was defeated, plunging the American republic into its gravest crisis since the war.

Waleed Shahid is 25 years old, from Arlington, Virginia. At the inauguration I met him in a Washington fast-food restaurant with his fellow activist, Max Berger, a 31-year-old Jewish American from “a town of 15,000 people and four Dunkin’ Donuts” in central Massachusetts. Both are involved in All Of Us, one of the many new progressive organisations committed to taking on the Trump ascendancy.

Shahid’s father moved to the US from Pakistan four decades ago. “He’s literally been working in the same parking garage since 1973.” There were four books in his home growing up: the Qur’an, a collection of Punjabi poetry and two biographies: one of ex-Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the other of Hillary Clinton.

Obama had politically inspired both his parents for the first time, but their lives have not got any better. “My father had his wages and hours cut since 2008,” Shahid tells me, “and my mother’s healthcare has gone up even though Obama campaigned on this stuff.”