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Democratic Socialism Makes New York Times

As someone who views public deliberation as an essential feature of democracy, I am heartened to see left viewpoints finally being addressed on the op/ed page of The New York Times. This column by Mitchell Abidor mentions by name the fast-growing organization Democratic Socialists of America, the increasingly prominent journal Jacobin, and Bhaskar Sunkara, author of The Socialist Manifesto. I guess democratic socialism has finally returned to the public sphere! Having come of age during the Cold War, I find that delightfully shocking.

I am disheartened, however, by the lack of respect Abidor shows towards fellow citizens who hold political views that differ from his own, an attitude all too commonly expressed on social media by supporters of the Democratic Party. Support the party line – “blue no matter who” – or prepare to be blasted! I find that position problematic because democracy entails equals governing themselves through collaborative decision-making, so respecting the views of others, even when you disagree, constitutes an essential component of self-rule.

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Memories of Reagan in the Age of Trump

This week, as I #StayHome to avoid contracting COVID-19, I am revising the second chapter of my political memoir, which focuses on my post-activist life that started when I left Florida for grad school in 1988.

Yesterday, I wrote a very depressing post about the state of U.S. politics right now, but late last night I realized how much the current situation resembles the way things stood in the 1980s, and at least Trump is less popular than Reagan.

When I left Florida to begin a PhD program in political science at Rutgers University in 1988, the political situation was grim. The country had already endured eight years of a horrendous right-wing president, who people inexplicably loved, who had engaged in criminal activities without Congressional consequences, and who pushed the world closer to the existential threat of nuclear annihilation.

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Dark Thoughts About Dark Times

This coronavirus crisis is getting me down. I’ve been self-isolated for only two weeks now, but it’s hard not to despair.

Right now, we once again face dark political times. Some optimists believe that the looming COVID-19 crisis could provide an opening to push for progressive change – Medicare for All, paid sick leave, UBI, et cetera.

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Democratic Socialism: How It Can Help Us Win!

I just started reading Asymmetric Politics: Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats by Matt Grossman and David A. Hopkins, and it has already helped crystallize some of my thoughts about progressive politics.* In short, the Left needs a coherent ideology to mobilize people. Luckily we have one: It’s called democratic socialism. Here’s my argument.

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Endorsements: What Are They Good For?

I’ve been thinking a lot about endorsements lately. This topic has weighed on my mind for years.

Endorsements are a good thing, when they help an organization’s members understand where a candidate stands on issues related to the group’s mission statement. For example, if I were a member of a feminist group, I would appreciate the group evaluating where candidates stand on feminist issues.Read More »Endorsements: What Are They Good For?

“Battling the Prince”: Adventures in State Politics

For the past few years, I have been conducting an auto-ethnographic study of my experiences in electoral politics, and the first piece of that project just got published!

Claire Snyder-Hall, “Battling the Prince: A Political Memoir,” New Political Science: A Journal of Politics and Culture (December 2017), published online 27 Sept. 2017.

Leaving the Ivory Tower and entering the world of realpolitik led to a number of surprising discoveries. This first published piece addresses some of what I learned about political culture during my forays.Read More »“Battling the Prince”: Adventures in State Politics

Fighting Democracy’s Enemies: The Mission of Our Citizen-Soldiers

I once wrote a book about the citizen-soldier tradition in the United States. We have a civilian-controlled military in order to protect our free, democratic society from those who would destroy it. That is why I find it so disturbing when any of our military men and women espouse support for white supremacy, misogyny, or Nazism — all of which are profoundly anti-democratic.Read More »Fighting Democracy’s Enemies: The Mission of Our Citizen-Soldiers