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What last week’s election results really mean

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | November 6, 2013

Pundits who are already describing the victories of Terry McAuliffe in Virginia and Chris Christie in New Jersey as a “return to the center” of American politics are confusing the “center” with big business and Wall Street.

A few decades ago McAuliffe would be viewed as a right-wing Democrat and Christie as a right-wing Republican. Both garnered their major support from corporate America, and both will reliably govern as fiscal conservatives who won’t raise taxes on the wealthy.

Both look moderate only by contrast with the Tea Partiers to their extreme right.

The biggest game-changer, though, is Bill de Blasio, the mayor-elect of New York City, who campaigned against the corporatist legacy of Michael Bloomberg — promising to raise taxes on the wealthy and use the revenues for pre-school and after-school programs for the children of New York’s burdened middle class and poor.

Those who dismiss his victory as an aberration confined to New York are overlooking three big new things:

First, the new demographic reality of America gives every swing state at least one large city whose inhabitants resemble those of New York.

Second, de Blasio won notwithstanding New York’s position as the epicenter of big business and Wall Street, whose money couldn’t stop him.

Third, Americans are catching on to the scourge of the nation’s raging inequality, and its baleful consequences for our economy and democracy.

Cross-posted from Robert Reich’s blog

Comments to “What last week’s election results really mean

  1. Prof. Reich, considering the latest warnings by IPCC, what we need is a leader to prepare us to deal with expected social threats that the IPCC has identified, including “global food supply is also at risk, with yields of wheat, rice, corn and other major crops projected to drop by as much as 2% each decade for the rest of the century, even as demand rises.”

    We need a leader in social sciences such as yourself to prepare us for the changes that the IPCC has identified.

  2. @objectiveobserver… ah but you are so wrong. Public education is revealing the “raging inequality” that Reich addresses … just for starters, there are a lot of NYC public school teachers and even more public school students and parents totally disgruntled by the attempt to privatize education in NYC. Neighborhood schools have been closed in order to open charter schools whose leaders make high 6-figure salaries but don’t know what they are doing (all the while excluding certain student populations like special ed students and language learners)…

    People are tired of the emphasis on data and testing for the profit of the publishing industry at the expense of the students. Bloomberg spent vast sums of money on implementing “corporate ed” reforms including spending 80 million dollars on a super computer for collecting data. And this has gotten so out of control (think In-Bloom)!! This is an assault on democracy. I think there a good number of people in this camp that will be rallying around de Blasio hoping that he will help restore the eroding middle class as well as public education.

    And that is just for starters…Parents are angry at the very notion of the public school to prison pipeline. When corporations take over public education, it becomes ALL ABOUT CORPORATE PROFIT and the results are a city of public school students who are totally disengaged and disdainful of “learning” because it is all about many wrong answers and only one right one for each question on a bubble-in answer sheet. This sadly has been the cornerstone of learning under “corporate ed reform”.

    Meanwhile, those who create these hideous policies have a different standard for themselves and their children go to elite private schools… King’s kids go to Montessori, Rhee’s kids go to an elite private school in TN, Obama’s kids are at Sidwell Friends. de Blasio’s victory is NO ABERRATION.

  3. None of this is important, the wealthy continue their control and everyone else is distracted. It is all an illusion. Turn off your television. Politics and Policy will do nothing for the planet, nor its inhabitants. This fact can no longer be anymore obvious. Just let “them” keep talking.

  4. You have no standing in this regard and your bias is transparent.

    Christie is a game changer. Christie is a leader who can work with all voices to form a consensus. Mcauliffe was propped up by big money campaigners like Clinton you and Obama. He barely won only due to Obama bundlers financing the Libertarian candidate.

    deBlasio is a case of Bloomberg hangover. Within a year, NY City will wish for the days of Bloomberg or Guliani.

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