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The New Republic September Issue: Identity Crisis

New York, NY(August 16, 2018)The New Republic today published its September issue, which features a cover package that explores who the Democrats need to be in the Trump era and poses the question, “Can the Democrats fix Washington?”.

Nearly 50 years ago, a group of young, liberal lawmakers swept into Congress on a mission to overturn the status quo. In a year when the stakes of the congressional election are so high for Democrats,
Michael Tomasky asserts that the party must learn from that Congressional class of 1974, the last pivotal midterm to favor Democrats, that resulted in a raft of liberal legislation. “If ever America needed a big, earthshaking election to change the course of the country, it’s now,” declares Tomasky.

Additional information about the September 2018 issue is included below.


In “Overdose and Punishment,” Jack Shuler examines the prosecution of Tommy Kosto, charged with killing his friend and fellow drug user Chad Baker, who overdosed on a lethal combination of cocaine and heroin. Shuler uses this example to demonstrate that the Reagan-era war on drugs tactics are only worsening today’s opioid crisis, stating “there’s no evidence that stiffer penalties have reduced drug overdoses.”

Isaac Stone Fish
analyzes the epidemic of self-censorship at U.S. universities on the subject of China in order to protect the hundreds of millions of dollars Chinese individuals and the Chinese Communist Party contribute to universities. Stone Fish explains in “The Other Political Correctness,” that self-censorship within American institutions is an issue as it “restricts the ability of U.S. policy makers, businesspeople, human rights advocates, and the general public to make smart decisions about how to interact with China.”


Heather Cox Richardson evaluates how Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 election encouraged Democrats to develop a new narrative about who they are and what they stand for as a political party in “The Language of Patriotism”. “After decades of being excoriated as un-American, Democrats are the ones sticking up for the FBI, the CIA, the Constitution, and the rule of the law,” claims Richardson, to defend the country against a hostile president.

“What Was Keith Ellison Thinking?”
by David Dayen answers the question of why the influential congressman is leaving Washington to run for Minnesota attorney general. Dayen argues, “in Donald Trump’s Washington, where partisan blood wars on Capitol Hill have ground the federal legislative machinery to a halt, his decision is less career suicide and more common sense.”

“The Soccer Mom Has Returned, Lily Geismer examines how candidates must appeal to today’s suburban soccer mom in order to win nominations by forgoing strategies and definitions of the past. Geismer says this demographic’s influence has gone even further because, “In 2018, Democratic strategists aren’t just trying to reach soccer moms. They’ve recruited candidates who are soccer moms.”

The issue of Democrats’ lack of investment in Hispanic voter outreach is explored in
“Taking Latino Voters for Granted.Author Adrian Carrasquillo recognizes that Democrats have not engaged Latinos, neither organizationally nor financially, which is in part due to the lack of diversity amongst those in power who decide how campaign money is spent. Carrasquillo states, “Without funds devoted to Latinos specifically, it’s going to be difficult to turn them out, let alone register them to vote.”

John B. Judis
asserts that “abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency” is a losing message for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections and beyond. In his piece “Don’t Abolish ICE,Judis explains that sharp moves to the far left could “prove disastrous in a general election. The fact that growing numbers of Democratic politicians seem to support them suggests that they have not figured out how to resurrect themselves in as a party.”

Lara Putnam
and Theda Skocpol counter with “Accentuate the Activists,in which they declare activists are rebuilding the Democratic Party, rather than tearing it apart. “Women (and some men), activated by the current moment and aided by civic groups of their own making, are heading out into neighborhoods, church halls, and country party committees—working to oust unresponsive incumbents and rebuild participatory democracy,” write Putnam and Skocpol.


“Money for Nothing,” by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian explores whether automation and UBI will eliminate work by examining two new books, Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber and Give People Money: How a Universal Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work, and Remake the World by Annie Lowrey. Abrahamian writes, “While many of us might hate our individual jobs, most of us love the idea of a job. Our world is constructed around the idea that a job is not just a paycheck: It’s a status symbol and a form of social inclusion...Now that a jobless (or less job-full) future may be within reach, the question is how to reimagine our relationship with work.”

“Utopian Visions”
from Jillian Steinhauer takes a look at the egotism and idealism of art from Burning Man and delves into whether it can make sense outside the desert. She explains, “Indeed, the artworks of Burning Man don’t always make sense outside of the desert because, as much as they exist (or fail) on their own merits, they’re just as importantly only one facet of the demonstration of human creativity that is Burning Man. Art helps Burners tell a story about the kind of enlightened people they are and the kind of glorious place they’ve created. In many cases, that is the only story it can tell.”

Daphne Merkin
reviews The Wife, a film by Björn Runge that showcases how a Nobel Prize win jolts an unequal marriage in “Second Place”. Merkin writes, “[the film] attempts to penetrate that mystery and the enigma of creative genius by suggesting that, in order for good writing to take place, someone else—in this case, a woman—must not write, or must at least sacrifice her own talent to aid and abet male artistry.”

“Spare No Trend,” Rachel Syme explores how TV Land’s Younger skewers the caprices—and prejudices—of the publishing industry. Syme explains that the show “has become a clever conduit through which to take on a wider range of issues. Publishing, at its heart, is about trying to capture and disseminate the zeitgeist; many of the conversations that the characters end up having on Younger are about how best to shepherd these new stories into the world and about the bumps they hit along the way.”

Timothy Shenk
examines the rise of predictions of democracy’s end in “Crisisology”. Using How Democracy Ends by David Runciman and How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy by Jonah Goldberg, Shenk notes that “by 2021, Trump could be working in real estate full-time again, the blandest of Democrats could be in control of government, and pundits could be heralding the revenge of the norms. But it’s also possible that a more profound shift is underway. As the political theorist Corey Robin has observed, when an old order is collapsing... it is easy to confuse the waning of a particular political system with a more fundamental breakdown of democracy.”

Poems by
Jesus I. Valles, Aline Mello and Tiana Nobile are featured this month. For Res Publica, Editor-in-Chief Win McCormack explores how to argue with a Koch brother in  “False Concepts of Liberty”.

The entire September 2018 issue of The New Republic is available on newsstands and via digital subscription now.

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