The New York Times featured a centerfold of its weekly Sunday Review section, billboarded “How to Beat Trump in 2020: Four Opinion Writers Show the Way.”
This should be good, I thought.
It wasn’t. One piece, by Melayne Price, was headlined “Electrify the Youth.” Yes, sure, but based on what mobilizing themes? Pryce cited various identity groups, but not the galvanizing issues.
The second piece, by David Leonhardt, was titled “To Beat Trump, Focus on Corruption.” This is true, as far as it goes. But is it sufficient to defeat Trump?
A third piece was called “Meme Team, Assemble.” This one was all about slogans and tactics. “Outrage, indignation and alarmism—sentiments proven to win online,” declared writer Charlie Warzel, “can be harnessed by Democrats, provided they choose the right candidate.” And who might that be? Warzel isn’t saying.
The final piece was by the estimable Tom Edsall. The title—inevitably—was “Democrats Can Still Seize the Center.” Edsall’s actual analysis was more nuanced than that (it always is), but the column plainly expressed alarm about “the leftward pressure on Democrats.”
Notice anything missing from this package of opinion columns?
How about the column pointing out the unmistakable fact that middle-class and working-class voters have been taking it on the chin for four decades; that economic ideas long dismissed as too radical by Times editorial writers and columnists now enjoy majority support; that these ideas bridge potentially fatal schisms of race; that Trump got elected in large part because recent Democratic nominees and presidents ignored the rising pocketbook distress in favor of climbing into bed with Wall Street; and that Warren and Sanders became serious contenders by emphasizing these issues.
You know, that column.