Gilded Age II has gone on for far too long, and the Left has not succeeded in ending it yet. I had high hopes for Bill Clinton's Presidency, but after saying the right things, he wimped out. I had similar high hopes for Barack Obama's Presidency, but while he had more success than Bill Clinton, he was obsessed with trying to make deals with the Republicans, even as they obstructed him. The Wisconsin Revolt against Governor Scott Walker failed, and the Occupy Wall Street movement was similarly unsuccessful. The Occupiers never created alternative meeting places, so when they were kicked out of city parks, they dispersed.The financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 left the vast majority of working people and the Democrats’ base of African-Americans, Hispanics, single women and millennials shattered for years. They lost much of their wealth and were forced into new jobs that often paid less. Many faced prohibitive student debt. With wages stagnant for a decade, they were frustrated with the daunting costs of health care, prescription drugs, child care and housing. Yet in the main, Mr. Obama, Hillary Clinton — and now Mr. Trump — hailed the economy’s progress, the millions of new jobs. But that was and is clueless. Mr. Trump will be the latest presidential candidate punished by the voters for not getting it.
... In 2018, Democrats succeeded by attacking Republicans for attempting to repeal Obamacare and failing to lower skyrocketing prescription drug costs. They proposed trillion-dollar investments in infrastructure and battled to drive dark money out of politics.
... After coming to power in the 2010 wave election, the Republicans tried to keep the government from addressing virtually any problem at all.
... The Democrats watched in frustration as the government was presumed to be impotent to address wage stagnation, surging inequality, climate change, the slaughter from automatic weapons and the flood of dark money into politics.
But this dam has burst. With Mr. Trump’s ever-escalating assault on government, the proportion of Americans who say that government “should do more to solve problems and meet the needs of people” surged to the highest level in 20 years. Democratic candidates who understand this political moment will push for a government that changes the country’s course, as it did under Democratic presidents after the progressive victories of 2008 and 1964 and especially after the 1932 triumph of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal.
That may be a contribution to AOC's celebrity: that she is very straightforward and unapologetic about her policy positions. She calls for Medicare for All rather than wringing her hands about how we can't do anything more than a few tweaks here and there. There's also the personality she projects, that of being a very likable "girl next door" and "Ms. Smith goes to Washington". AOC is only one person, but she is part of a progressive wave, a wave that is likely to get bigger in the coming years. But she seems like she will end up a spiritual leader of it.And yet, his party is unraveling. A quarter of Republicans were moderates in 2018, and 30 percent defected to the Democrats or stayed home in the midterms. This year, the secular conservatives and moderates who are the least enthusiastic about Mr. Trump moved away from the party, leaving it dominated by evangelicals, the Tea Party and observant Catholics.
But Mr. Trump playing the immigrant card as president has made Americans more favorable to immigration and immigrants — almost two-thirds now say that immigration benefits the country. His attack on immigrants has created a growing consciousness that we are a country of immigrants.
Like it or not in Mr. Trump’s America, the Republicans will now be the anti-immigrant party and the Democrats the pro-immigrant party, confidently associated with America’s multiculturalism.
The Democrats want a powerful, activist government after years of gridlock and political impotence. More than three quarters of them believe that sharper regulation of business is necessary to protect the public, that government benefits for the poor don’t go far enough, that racial discrimination still blocks black advancement and that stricter environment laws are worth the cost. Two-thirds believe that corporations make too much profit. They want a very different America from the one Republicans have forged.
When you combine Mr. Trump pushing moderates out of the Republican Party and the changing attitudes his rhetoric and policies have brought about with the Democrats’ pro-government fervor, you have a recipe for transformation. Democrats should be looking not just to defeat Donald Trump and the Republican Party, but to get to work building a bold era of progressive reform.