New York, NY (October 5, 2017) —Over the past month, a string of hurricanes has devastated parts of the US and the Caribbean. Despite these natural disasters, many conservatives still stand by their belief that climate change isn’t real and largely man-made.
For our November issue cover story “States of Denial,” Matthew Shaer reports from the front-lines of climate change: Levy County, Florida, a dead-red, rural Trump locale that will be devastated environmentally and financially by global warming. Meeting with local business owners, farmers, and government officials, Shaer recounts the impact climate change has already had on these locals with the worst still to come. Despite seeing the changing world around them—from the rising seas to soaring temperatures—the politics surrounding their beliefs makes fixing the problem impossible. As one climate-denying Trump voter tells Shaer, “The climate may be changing. But people don’t have anything to do with it. And sooner or later, things will swing back around again, I promise—just give it a little time.”
In “Sibling Rivalry,” New Republic senior editor Jeet Heer argues for why liberalism and socialism should be coming together instead of competing against one another. Currently, there is a stark separation between the wants of Democratic establishment and their base, who are embracing a more populist approach to governing. The main question at hand is if socialists and liberals can finally set aside their differences and work together to defeat Trump. Heer also adds, “For socialism to succeed, it can’t come from a white male demanding that women and people of color choose between their class interests and their racial and cultural identity. The political face of socialism—the leaders who represent it—must resemble the actual working class, which is increasingly nonwhite and female.”
Moira Weigel’s “Made in America” is an in-depth look at the influx of Chinese couples coming to the United States to hire American surrogate mothers to carry their children. With a crackdown in countries like Thailand and India either prohibited foreigners from hiring surrogates or completely outlawed the practice, the United States has become the new, best place to find “carriers.” There is a tangible irony to Weigel’s reporting. Americans have long been used to looking to China for cheap, reliable workers and products. But in the new globalized market for reproductive labor, the balance of power has shifted. U.S. women from low-income, Rust Belt states are selling their services to money from abroad, at the very same moment that our president has vowed to return the economy to its mythological America First roots. Will Trump’s fiscal policies sink this new market? Dr. Zhang, founder of the New Hope Fertility Center, who Weigel interviews for the story, thinks not. The fundamental truth about Trump’s America is that “in the end, money talks.”
For “The Return of Fascism,” photographer Espen Rasmussen spent nearly two years documenting the rise of far-right extremists in Europe. As Seyla Benhabib states in the introduction, support for these groups grew as a reaction to the European Union. With the increase in refugees entering Europe, many older generations feared losing their identities as white Christians. Rasmussen’s photos provide an intimate look at prominent figures and supporters of these nationalist groups, such as Greece’s Golden Dawn, the Nordic Resistance Movement in Sweden, the National Front in France, and Britain First in the UK.
[UP FRONT & COLUMNS]
For Up Front this month, Laura Reston’s “The NRA’s New Scare Tactics” details the NRA’s new strategy for boosting gun sales in the US—their streaming service, NRATV. “As a marketing arm of the gun industry, the NRA has long understood that fear sells—but now it has a new media platform from which to broadcast a daily drumbeat of extremism and paranoia.” Justin Miller looks at the Illinois governor’s race in “Battle of the Plutocrats.” Ignoring the support for populism by their base, Democratic leaders have chosen to support venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker (an heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune) as the leading candidate against current GOP governor Bruce Rauner. “With a clear shot at retaking Illinois from an unpopular businessman-turned-politician, at a moment when the White House is occupied by an unpopular businessman-turned-politician, the Democratic Party has decided to back ... an unpopular businessman-turned-politician,” Miller writes. Jennifer Wilson explores Trump’s hawkish foreign policy in “The Mother of All Bombers.” Far from being an America First isolationist, Trump has zealously embraced his role as a wartime president. Since taking office, he has dramatically ramped up the use of military force in a wide range of international hot spots, from Syria and Iraq to Somalia and Pakistan. In Afghanistan alone, Trump has already dropped more bombs than Barack Obama did in his last two years as president combined. Clio Chang examines the conservative backlash to citizen-introduced ballot initiatives across 16 states last year. In “Repeal and Replace,” she sheds light on how Republican legislatures are now working to overrule the will of their constituents and make it harder to enact citizen-backed reformed in the future.
In “It’s the Culture, Stupid,” Lee Drutman argues that Democrats need to embrace identity politics, not shy away from them. Rather than trying to appeal to class issues in the hopes of winning back working-class whites, Drutman contends, Democrats need to recognize that they’ve likely lost those voters for good. Instead, Democrats need to change their strategy and start emphasizing culture and identity over economic issues, focusing more—and more deeply—on their multicultural coalition of supporters. As Drutman writes, “Donald Trump won by appealing to the cultural anxieties of blue-collar whites. By the same token, Democrats can win by appealing more explicitly to the hopes, fears, and dreams of their broad coalition, and giving them a reason to turn out on Election Day.”
Nell Irvin Painter explores the definition of The Other/Othering in “Long Divisions,” as showcased in Toni Morrison’s most recent and past work. As Painter writes, Toni Morrison’s new book The Origin of Others “traces through American literature patterns of thought and behavior that subtly code who belongs and who doesn’t and who is accepted in and who is cast out as ‘other’.” But as she notes, to Morrison, Othering begins in the family, connecting to race, class, gender and power.
With Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump and members of his team shifting into an investigation of financial fraud, David Dayen describes the historical precedent that’s been set surrounding corporate accountability in criminal cases in “Club Fed.” As Dayen writes, “prosecutors and defense attorneys are often colleagues who have spent years working together in the same white-shoe firms—and who fully expect to do so again in the future...Close relationships on both sides of the negotiating table create not only a disinclination to play hardball, but also career incentives for leniency.” Citing Jesse Eisinger’s book The Chickenshit Club, because the Trump probe has shifted it will likely be handled gingerly.
To better understand the current relationship between the United States and North Korea, Patrick Iber in “Cold War World” examines how one approach is to look at the longstanding impact of the Cold War on a global scale. As he comments, George Orwell foresaw the implications of a cold war and how it would “put an end to large-scale wars at the cost of prolonging indefinitely a peace that is no peace” while the atomic bomb would intensity political inequality because of the cost. Adding insight from Odd Arne Westad’s new book The Global Cold War, Iber sheds light on the true extent of the conflicts during the Cold War and how they’ve led to some of today’s critical developments—how North Korea acquired long-range nuclear missiles and the rise of socialist movement in Western democracies.
Reviewing Jennifer Egan’s latest novel Manhattan Beach, Michelle Dean on how Egan’s latest work strays from her last three novels that serve as commentaries on technology and its discontents. Instead, her latest is “a rather uncharacteristically ordinary book.” Rachel Syme reviews the tv series Better Things in “Mom, Interrupted,” and how the show is about “motherhood and the mundane, the snarl of tedium and tenderness that fills the waking hours of a parent’s life.” Christian Lorentzen on how Ruben Östlund’s film The Square serves as a satire of the international art world and is a story of muddled, liberal, middle-class, white masculinity.
Terrance Hayes contributes the featured poem this month, “American Sonnet For My Past and Future Assassin.” For Backstory, Patrick Brown’s photograph showcases the arrival of refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh who are fleeing the ethnic conflict in their home country.
The November issue of the New Republic hits newsstands Thursday, October 5th.
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