When I saw the title of Paul Krugman’s column, “The Banality of Democratic Collapse”, a small part of me hoped that he would attempt to dissect some of the failures of the Democratic Party. That hope was extinguished after I read the second paragraph and remembered that I was reading the New York Times. Why does Krugman think “American democracy is hanging by a thread”? Cowardice and acquiescence to conspiracy theorists from Republican careerist politicians.
Unsurprisingly and true to form for a Democratic party loyalist like Krugman, nowhere in the piece will you read about the Democrats’ role in the mess we face. No mention of their embrace of Reagan anti-unionism, no mention of NAFTA, no mention of the bailouts instituted by Democratic regimes, and certainly no mention at all of neoliberalism, a doctrine that both parties have embraced. Instead, he makes excuses for the Democrats:
Professional Democrats had to negotiate their way among sometimes competing demands from various constituencies. All Republicans had to do was follow the party line.
Krugman implies that things would be a lot better if Republicans didn’t “consistently prefer to get its advice from politically reliable cranks”, and then lavishes praise on the Biden administration for hiring all of the policy experts. No matter to him that experts advising Democrats helped bring on some of the most disastrous outcomes of neoliberalism.
Sadly, we shouldn’t expect to see any self-awareness, let alone accountability, from the Democrats and their faithful servants like Paul Krugman any time soon.