Coalition of the redpilled
Ruy Teixeira has left the Center for American Progress and will, on August 1, start as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. That sentence will, of course, mean absolutely nothing to the overwhelming majority of Americans. It may not even mean much to you, a subscriber to this email about political life in the country’s capital.
But this admittedly very Beltway development is the latest development in a bigger story. For a sense of the way in which Teixeira’s move is a sign of the times, imagine telling a Washingtonian who’d been in a coma for fifteen years that a mainstay of progressive DC and the author of The Emerging Democratic Majority is about to start work at the think tank that had the ear of the Bush administration and has long been a byword for the conservative establishment. It would be unfathomable. So what changed? Not Teixeira’s own views, he insists in an interview with Politico. “I’m just a social democrat, man. Trying to make the world a better place,” he says.
Teixeira’s move was born of exasperation at progressive organizations’ preoccupation with identity politics at the expense of class: “I would say that anybody who has a fundamentally class-oriented perspective, who thinks that’s a more important lens and doesn’t assume that any disparity is automatically a lens of racism or sexism or what have you… I think that perspective is not congenial in most left institutions,” he told Michael Shaffer.
Reading of Teixeira’s frustration brought to mind a must-read article by Ryan Grim published last month on the Intercept that painted a convincing picture of a progressive movement paralyzed by woke navel-gazing, internal rows and Slack-channel revolutionaries.
Teixeira’s move is the latest reminder of the ways in which the American left has lost its way. But it also poses interesting questions about what the fightback against wokeness might look like. Teixeira makes for a strange bedfellow for many AEI scholars. Though the think tank is a broad church that in no way insists on any sort of party line, it is a conservative endeavor that — at least according to the old rules — would appear to be at odds with Teixeira’s class-focused progressivism.
Explaining Teixeira’s arrival at the think tank, AEI president Robert Doar says he “likes taking chances.” The question, then, is what the gamble is here. It is, I think, best understood as a bet that the broadest possible coalition is best suited to taking on illiberal wokeness: out-and-out conservatives, exiles from the left now on the center-right (the new neocons, if you will) and, yes, unreconstructed leftists like Teixeira.
There’s an irony in Teixeira’s move. An unmissable chronicler of the realignment in American politics at his Substack blog, the Liberal Patriot, has become part of the story.
One of the big open questions in American politics at the moment concerns the shape and durability of alliance formed by those clearly appalled by the turn to the left of the Democratic Party, universities, DEI capitalists and so on. Is opposition to left-wing identity politics enough to hold together a coalition of the redpilled? Or do other divides still matter? Dobbs has been a big, unavoidable reminder of the existence of those divides. And on economics, both voters and policy elites may struggle to reconcile wildly differing views.
I suspect events will go a long way to answering these questions. If our economic woes continue, rows over, say, classroom textbooks may fade from the foreground. If the left listens to the warnings of Teixeira and others, perhaps it may slow the exodus of exasperated old-school liberals. Either way, Teixeira’s career move would have been unfathomable until only a few years ago. And that should be a sign that, wherever we end up, American politics is changing very quickly.
What did Biden get from the Saudis?
President Biden is back at the White House after his Middle East trip, from which the most lasting image will be the much-discussed fist bump with Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. The image made clear the moral and political price of Biden’s decision to meet the leader of a regime Biden once vowed to make a “pariah.”
So what did the president get in return? It’s too soon to say for sure, but there are few signs of success. After the meeting, the Saudis were mum on the crucial question of oil production. Meanwhile, the Biden administration finds itself caught in an unflattering row over whether or not the president condemned the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in his meeting with MbS. A clearer picture of what Biden got out of his trip will hopefully emerge in the coming weeks. Watch the outcome of next month’s OPEC meeting for a sense of how helpful Saudi Arabia feels.
Jill is in excuse mode
Fresh off the success of comparing Hispanic Americans to tacos, Jill Biden is making excuses for husband’s awkwardly short list of achievements in office. “He had so many hopes,” Biden told a private DNC fundraiser, per CNN, before lamenting that rather than enact his various plans, he had to “address the problems of the moment.”
In explaining her husband’s failure, the first lady hardly inspires confidence in her husband’s administration: “He’s just had so many things thrown his way,” she said. “Who would have ever thought about what happened [with the Supreme Court overturning] Roe v. Wade? Well, maybe we saw it coming, but still we didn’t believe it. The gun violence in this country is absolutely appalling. We didn’t see the war in Ukraine coming.”
What you should be reading today
Nate and Thomas Hochman: How to not argue at the dinner table
Daniel McCarthy: Brave new wombs
Grace Curley: Will the January 6 Committee get a second season?
Niall Ferguson, Bloomberg: No one knows how long inflation will last. That’s life
Khaled Talaat, Tablet: Is the age of fusion upon us?
Tanner Greer, City Journal: Our problems aren’t procedural
President Biden job approval
Approve: 38.6 percent
Disapprove: 56.4 percent
Net approval: -17.8 (RCP Average)
Georgia Senate race
Raphael Warnock (D): 50 percent
Herschel Walker: 47 percent (Fabrizio/Anzalone)