The biggest political question of the next year is whether, assuming Democrats lose badly in November, the progressive left that is the ballast of the Democratic Party will be able to pivot back toward the center as Bill Clinton did by degrees after the 1994 mid-term upended 40 years of Democratic hegemony on Capitol Hill.
Never mind Biden, who has neither the feral intelligence nor retail political skills Clinton had. What about the progressives more broadly? Right now all the signs are that the AOC-types will double down on leftism, and say the failure at the ballot box was because Congress wouldn’t go far enough left with Build Back Better, the Green New Deal, student loan forgiveness, reparations, etc. You can see this mentality work already with the left’s response to the two San Francisco recalls—SF is a conservative town, and the New York Times is a center-right newspaper. Please keep drinking this Kool Aid, Democrats, while I reach for my popcorn.
There are a few non-Kool Aid drinkers on the left, such as Ruy Tiexeria and David Shor. Another appears to be Sam Adler-Bell. Adler-Bell co-hosts a highly popular podcast called KnowYourEnemy, and guess who the “enemy” is in this title? Why yes, it is us conservatives. I’ve tried to listen a few times, but usually turn it off in disgust, and have come to regard the co-host as “Sam Addled-Bell.”
But in the old “stopped clock is right twice a day,” Adler-Bell has an article out this week at MSN decrying woke politics. He does a lot of throat clearing about the annoying aspects of wokery, and then comes to a useable definition worth filing away. Here’s some of his background:
“Wokeness” may once have had a relatively stable meaning, signifying, among 20th-century Black radicals and artists, something like: “staying wise to the persistence and insidiousness of white supremacy in American life.” Now the term has been abused and stretched to a point of such ample unintelligibility that its mere appearance, in text or speech, reliably signals that an unclear or tendentious thought is about to be expressed — inducing, in me at least, a slack-jawed irritation that is phenomenologically not unlike having my ears boxed. It doesn’t help that its most frequent invokers are so irritating.
After an obligatory dismissal and rejection of conservative critics of wokeness, he gets on to the main event:
I’m going to offer — God, forgive me — another definition of “wokeness,” one which bears at least some resemblance to the way it is deployed in our jaundiced contemporary discourses.
Here it is: Wokeness refers to the invocation of unintuitive and morally burdensome political norms and ideas in a manner which suggests they are self-evident.
In other words, the conservatives who have been deploring this and its many precursors going back 50 years now are right. He doesn’t see it that way, but I’ll take half-a-loaf, serene in the confidence that the progressive left will pay no attention to Addled-Bell’s attempt at self-criticism, nor will Addled-Bell ever take any practical steps to reverse wokery in practice.
And now on to the George Gascon recall in Los Angeles.