2020 is pretty much our only chance to get anybody anti-neoliberal in power. Younger candidates and voters don’t have the slightest idea that there might be anything wrong with neoliberalism. I mean, they are very negatively impacted by it, a lot more than the oldsters. But they don’t know it. They have no frame of reference. They diagnose their malaise using neoliberal terminology.
Look at Obama. He was young (for a politician), obviously well-meaning, obviously a good person. But he seemed genuinely incapable of articulating a single non-neoliberal thought. He still is.
The oldsters remember life before the neoliberal revolution. And that’s good. But it’s also bad because their only response to it is let’s go back to the past, Make America Great Again, make America’s taxation system great again. Both Bernie and Trump look to the past for an alternative to the present.
What I’d love to see is somebody who:
1. Understands that neoliberalism creates enormous inequality and consigns many people to the dustbin of history in the capacity of “human waste” (the definition is Bauman’s, in case anybody wants to start assuming this is from Fox News).
2. That neoliberalism is not just about the economy. It’s a “structure of feeling.” There’s an enormous ideological apparatus attached to it, and it’s a chicken and egg situation because nobody can really say which comes first.
Bernie very clearly understands the first but is utterly blind to the second. He won’t succeed at anything as long as he thinks it’s all about a set of tweaks to the taxation and spending system and that by making this system more like it used to be (here or in the Finland of the past) the problem will be solved.