For over eighty years, the reformist left in the United States has sought to transform one of the capitalist parties into a “people’s” party. Both the Communist Party’s popular front strategy and the social-democratic strategy of “realignment” (formulated by the brilliant ex-Marxist Max Shachtman) sought to transform the Democratic Party.
On October 22, 2018, Barack Obama declared the 2018 midterm elections to be “more important than any I can remember in my lifetime, and that includes when I was on the ballot.”
In most ways, the 2014 Congressional elections represented more of the same for mainstream U.S. politics. The Republicans increased majority in the House of Representatives and their capture of the majority of the Senate in 2014, despite appearances, does not represent any more of a sea change in public opinion than their 2010 victories.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, one of the Reconstruction Amendments, to the US Constitution. Addressing citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws, it has been one of the most litigated portions of the Constitution. Field Notes asked historian Charlie Post to respond to this anniversary by drawing some central political lessons from the history of the Amendment’s establishment.