The New Way Forward After Trump
What is the beginning of a political grand strategy that plays off Trump and creates a more transformational way forward to solve the challenges of our times?
One way to read the election of Donald Trump is that Americans want the current system – the way our economy, society and government work – to undergo a fundamental transformation. In this interpretation of the election, many Americans did not think Hillary Clinton would change the system in a meaningful way, which is why she also had such a serious challenge from Bernie Sanders. Trump’s message that the system was fundamentally broken and the status quo in Washington could not stand clearly resonated with many people. He promised he was going to bring big change, even if that change was in the form of regression to a bygone era.
Our roundtable discussion started from that premise that many Americans want big system change and that neither of the two parties are currently fulfilling that need. If that’s the case, the Democratic Party and the progressive movement must now seriously rethink the way forward and create a compelling alternative to Trump and the Republican Party he now heads. This roundtable conversation focused on longer-term strategies the center-left could adopt to rework our economy, society, and even democracy for the 21st century. Could we develop an alternative to Trump and right-wing nationalism that aggressively rebalances massive inequalities in the economy and redesigns society to work better for average people?
Many Americans living in thriving urban hubs, and particularly citizens in California and the West Coast, arguably are already experiencing the high-tech, globally interconnected, more sustainable economy and society that for a time seemed to be inexorably moving forward across the world. They badly miscalculated the brewing backlash against progress throughout America and the West. How do we accelerate the spread of the benefits of this new way of life while dealing with the disruptions and fear of the future? Does the political center-left in both America and the West need to let go of many late 20th century ideas and policies, and reinvent them for the 21st century? If so, how do we do so before Trump and the right-wing drag America and the world back into the 20th century?