The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order—memorialized in the classic anthology of that title edited by Gary Gerstle and Steve Fraser in 1989—might be history, but it never gets old. Eighty-plus years after FDR was inaugurated, the New Deal still excites the liberal left imagination even as it, perhaps, stunts it, too. How we got from Roosevelt to Reagan continues to generate conflicting arguments from those who think the New Deal was the “great exception” to American individualism and federalism unlikely to be repeated (Jefferson Cowie); a reluctant capitulation to the white supremacist South which was the best it could do (Ira Katznelson); or, an honorable surrender following the desperate rearguard fight by workers and farmers against the consolidation of corporate capitalism in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries (Steve Fraser).
As for white unionized workers, despite all of the stories about how pissed off they are at neoliberal Democrats and how they were attracted to Donald Trump’s trade message, the fact remains that white men in unions have still voted for Democrats at a rate of about 20 percent higher than their non-union counterparts. (This pattern likely did not hold this year. Exit polls from the 2016 election indicate that Clinton carried the union vote by 51–43, the lowest margin for a Democrat since 1984.)
Two recent books about the New Deal order, one by political scientist Eric Schickler and the other by legal historian Reuel Schiller, complement each other in their attention to the relationship between unions and the movement for African-American civil rights. But while Schickler writes a story of liberal ascension, driven largely by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), stopping in 1965 after the monumental legislation of the civil rights era, Schiller chronicles a liberal declension, ending with deindustrialization in the 1970s and tension between labor and civil rights activists. Both books end at roughly the same historical moment. Schickler sees in it labor liberalism’s triumph—the CIO and then the civil rights movement pushing to bring racial justice into the mainstream of the Democratic Party. Schiller, on the other hand, sees the labor movement and those fighting racial injustice, despite their many efforts to work together, as chained to separate legal protocols, doomed to “[talk] past each other.” To paraphrase Bob Dylan, for Schickler, labor liberalism is busy being born at the same time, according to Schiller, it is busy dying.
VIRGINIA prides itself on being a birthplace of enduring democratic traditions. It was here that America made its first foray into representative government: in 1619, the House of Burgesses was created to govern the Virginia colony in partnership with a governor appointed by the British crown.
A Republican-dominated General Assembly is churning out legislation targeting the new minorities: Asian and Hispanic immigrants and LGBT Virginians, all of whom have a growing presence in the vote-rich metropolitan areas that favour Democrats. Such legislation—and the pointed debate it engenders—sharply contrasts with the image of Virginia as a forward-thinking, Upper South state that began to emerge in 1989 with the victory of L. Douglas Wilder as the nation’s first African American governor.
And though Virginia is a suburban-dominated state in which the majority of residents are non-natives with increasingly moderate views that favour Democrats, hyper-partisan gerrymandering has allowed Republicans, for most of the past 15 years, to maintain a firm grip on the legislature.
The next governor, in 2021, will accept or reject new legislative boundaries based on the previous year’s census. Population growth and accelerating diversity favour the Democrats, but those trends can be blunted with gerrymandering. A map that favours the Republicans is almost certain to be put in place if there is a Republican governor to sign it.
That allows Republicans to focus on ideas that matter most to their narrowing, conservative and largely rural base. They do not appear to mind that this projects, to an audience beyond Virginia, a discomfiting picture of America’s 12th-largest state.
Republicans are also pushing a requirement that residents registering to vote must produce a birth certificate. Likely to be vetoed by Terry McAuliffe, the departing Democratic governor, the bill would be the latest obstacle to voting pressed by Republicans in what Democrats say is a continuing effort to suppress turnout of their most reliable voters: seniors, students, minorities, and foreign-born newcomers.
The debate over these issues is a preliminary proxy battle over higher stakes. In November, Virginia will choose a new governor. The election is likely to be viewed as early referendum on the Trump presidency. Republicans no longer control Virginia’s statewide offices, such as governor and United States senator. And they are desperate to win back the governorship, if only to perpetuate Republican legislative power into the 2030s.
February 14, 2017 / MCDC / Comments Off on Federal judge in Virginia issues strong rebuke of Trump travel ban
A federal judge in Alexandria has issued a preliminary injunction against President Trump’s travel ban, dealing another blow to the White House attempt to bar residents of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.
The executive order, Judge Leonie M. Brinkema concluded, probably violates the First Amendment’s protections for freedom of religion.
“The ‘Muslim Ban’ was a centerpiece of the president’s campaign for months, and the press release calling for it was still available on his website as of the day this Memorandum Opinion is being entered,” Brinkema wrote.
On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, it’s important to remember why America welcomes refugees.
Shattered storefront of a Jewish-owned shop destroyed during Kristallnacht (the “Night of Broken Glass”). Berlin, Germany, November 10, 1938.
Desperate people, fleeing a terrifying, bloodthirsty regime, try to find refuge in the US. But the American government and the public don’t want to accept them. They worry that accepting refugees would put citizens at risk, and they don’t see the refugee crisis as their problem to fix. So they are turned away.
This is what President Donald Trump is about to sign America up for, if widespread reports are correct that he’s on the verge of signing an executive order that would ban all refugees from settling in the US for 4 months and ban Syrian refugees indefinitely.
We’ve been here before.
The US (and other countries in the Western Hemisphere) could have saved thousands of Jews from the Nazis. They didn’t. At one point, the US literally turned away a ship of 900 German Jews. Shortly afterward, it rejected a proposal to allow 20,000 Jewish children to come to the US for safety.
Kristallnacht, literally, “Night of Crystal,” is often referred to as the “Night of Broken Glass.” The name refers to the wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms which took place on November 9 and 10, 1938. This wave of violence took place throughout Germany, annexed Austria, and in areas of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia recently occupied by German troops.
At the time, the US didn’t know how terrible the Holocaust would become. But Americans did know that Nazis were encouraging vandalism and violence against Jews — many Americans had been alarmed by Kristallnacht in 1938, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt had issued a statement condemning it. But America didn’t feel strongly enough about the mistreatment of Jews to allow them to find a safe harbor in the US.
Modern refugee policy, in other words, is largely a response to the failures of the Holocaust era. And if Donald Trump signs the refugee executive order Friday, he’ll be doing it on International Holocaust Remembrance Day itself.
Desperate people, fleeing a terrifying, bloodthirsty regime, try to find refuge in the US. But the American government and the public don’t want to accept them. They worry that accepting refugees would put citizens at risk, and they don’t see the refugee crisis as their problem to fix.
The lost letter from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s widow opposing Jeff Sessions for a federal judgeship in 1986 has been found, and it’s a doozy..
“The irony of Mr. Sessions’ nomination is that, if confirmed, he will be given life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods. Twenty years ago ago, when we marched from Selma to Montgomery, the fear of voting was real, as the broken bones and bloody heads in Selma and Marion bore witness. As my husband wrote at the time, it was not just a sick imagination that conjured up the vision of a public official, sworn to uphold the law, who forced an inhuman march upon hundreds of Negro children; who ordered the Rev. James Bevel to be chained to his sickbed; who clubbed a Negro woman registrant, and who callously inflicted repeated brutalities and indignities upon nonviolent Negroes peacefully petitioning for their constitutional right to vote”