I N T R O D U C T I O N
Post-Politics and Left Victory
Tism
he end of the Bush administration and the crisis in capital-
confronting the world economy are opportunities not
simply for reflecting on the bankruptcy of conservatism and
neoliberalism but also for addressing the yet more significant
failures of the left. They present opportunities, in other words,
for confronting the ways that the true believers in the Republi-
can message were actually leftists and Democrats. For many of
us on the American left, the election of 2000 indicated less
a divided populace than it did the consolidation of conserva-
tive hegemony. We read George W. Bush’s assumption of the
presidency as exposing the underlying truth of the country, de-
spite the fact Al Gore won the popular vote and the election’s
outcome rested with the Supreme Court. A Bush presidency
seemed inevitable, almost foreordained. Trapped in what ap-
peared as one enormous red state and overlooking the pervasive
blue and purple, we wallowed in our misery.∞ That over half the
voters did not want Bush somehow seemed unimportant. That
the Republicans remained significantly behind the Democrats
with respect to voters’ party identification barely registered.≤ We
were convinced that the country was Republican, conservative,
capitalist, Christian fundamentalist, and evangelical (as if these
were all the same). It’s almost as if we believed in their strength
and unity, their power and influence, more than they did them-
selves. So we submitted to what we loudly lamented as our own
worst nightmare. We turned a split election into the fact, the
victory, of conservatism. And ever since, many of us on the
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