How should we confront the threat that the Trump administration and the Republican controlled Congress pose to the achievements and values of the American left? How can the left defend hard-won gains while building a viable opposition against Trumpism in the long term?

Dissent editors and contributors debated how the left can defeat Trumpism.  Featuring:

  • Bhaskar Sunkara is editor and publisher of Jacobin magazine.
  • Nancy Fraser is a professor of philosophy and politics at The New School for Social Research and author, most recently, of Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis.
  • Paul Berman is author of The Flight of the Intellectuals, A Tale of Two Utopias, and a columnist for Tablet magazine.
  • Robert Master is co-chair of the New York State Working Families Party and political director for District 1 of the Communication Workers of America.
  • Deva Woodly is assistant professor of political science at The New School and author, most recently, of The Politics of Common Sense: How Social Movements Use Public Discourse to Change Politics and Win Acceptance.
  • Moderated by Michael Kazin, editor of Dissent and author most recently of War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918.

Also see David Maddy’s article Public Seminar post entitled “Trumpism: How Should the Left Respond?” that correlates to this debate.

*Sponsored by the Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies, The New School and Dissent Magazine

5 thoughts on “Trumpism – How Should the Left Respond?

  1. Interesting. Just some initial thoughts. The Republican Party has not collapsed. In no way does Trump’s win signal this. Rather, we have seen, at least since RR the taking over of the party by the lunatic fringe. RR was anti-choice, openly racist, nationalistic and xenophobic (but he had that sunny disposition). What we see with Trump rather is the laying bare of how the Republican Party has been working, the hate and the racism and the sexism that has largely defined their unconscious appeal and identity. They may be undergoing a shift in their identity but to say the collapsed when they are the most powerful organization on the planet is inane.

    1. The Democratic party may split. Bernie supporters are not just old lefties like me, they are also young people who have progressive values and saw the Democratic party as not progressive enough, not anti-Wall Street enough. There are also former Libertarians and former Republicans, FDR Republicans who went with Bernie. And young people who saw thier parents lose their homes, who are saddled with debt, who don’t buy what the media tells them. They believe in a social safety net, in affordable health care, civil rights and rasonably priced higher education. If you think about it there is little reason for Bernie and HRC to even be a part of the same party. I would welcome a third party of the motley crew of Bernie people and I am not convinced that they cannot win on the local level and also govern. Perhaps we are too trapped in our thinking of Dem v. Republican and while a large part of the electorate has been mobiiized and is invovled in progressive causes, these are the causes of Bernie supporters. Let’s hold out some hope for a third party that actually responds to the organization on the ground.

      1. There is also an assumption in this discussion and I hear the assumption on the left all of the time. We keep talking only about the economy and jobs. These are undoubetdly important but the loss of jobs is some industries (well located in swing states) is not the only reason he won. He also won because of the prevelant if formerly buried racism, sexism, homophobia and the like. If we are going to get at his appeal, we have to address these slippery and far less rational appeals of Trump.

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