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MSNBC, Joy Reid and the Myth of Compassionate Capitalism

Macron’s comfortable victory in the French Presidential election is being used by neo-liberals and centrists in the United States to reaffirm the narrative of their own political agenda. MSNBC’s Joy Reid, a fervent Clinton supporter, tweeted ” we need a global conversation on how to develop a ‘compassionate capitalism’ that answers economic displacement w/ alternatives to fascism,” invoking the ‘compassionate capitalism’ myth championed by Betsy Devos’ father, Rich Devos, in a 1993 book. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi expressed a similar worldview perspective during a CNN Town Hall in February 2016, during which she told a millennial that the solution to the problems caused by capitalism are not progressive policies, but trying to make wealthy people more compassionate. This attitude is why Democrats are failing miserably, as they are willing to diagnose the problems of economic displacement as bad, but insist the driving causes of that displacement are inherently positive or deliberately misdiagnose them as symptomatic of a lack of identity politics.

The 2011 Citizens United Supreme Court decision exemplifies how far wealthy and corporate interests have successfully scaled back the constraints of democracy to further their own interests. Instead of challenging that status quo and disavowing ties to special interests that have hijacked American democracy through massive campaign donations and armies of lobbyists, the Democratic Party has capitulated to their takeover of the party. The leaders of the party remain silent as the ban on lobbyist and PAC donations lifted by Debbie Wasserman Schultz during the primaries has not been re-enacted. Democratic Party officials have attended closed door conferences with billionaire donors on several occasions since Hillary Clinton’s election loss to discuss and formulate party strategies moving forward without the transparency and input from voters.

While several progressive policies championed by Bernie Sanders increasingly gain popularity with voters, like single payer healthcare, the majority of Democrats refuse to join their constituents in supporting it. What those Democrats who don’t support it ignore are the working and middle class people their “pragmatism” leaves behind, just as they did when Obamacare was initially enacted to benefit the health insurance industry who were afraid of a single payer system while leaving 28 million people uninsured.

In June 2016, Fortune reported that the International Monetary Fund admitted neo-liberalism hasn’t been working, rather its stunted economic growth and increased wealth and income inequality. In the United States, this has manifested in constant increases in wealth and income inequality while 99 percent of all new generated income has gone to the top 1 percent of the wealthiest Americans.

Ignoring those progressive policies that have made Bernie Sanders the most popular politician in the country, MSNBC’s Joy Reid and several other neo-liberals have propagated horseshoe theory to corroborate their own toxic politics. The pejorative political science theory claims the far-right and far-left of the presupposed political spectrum that places preserving the status quo in the middle have more in common with each other than the center. This theory is demonstrably false, but it has never stopped Clinton loyalists from trying to equate Sanders Supporters to Trump supporters as a smear tactic.

Recently Bloomberg writer Noah Smith, without citing any evidence because it doesn’t exist, tried to claim that far-left supporters in America and the UK were cheering on France’s far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. MSNBC’s Joy Reid responded to Smith that the only difference she saw from the far left and far right was the right’s overt racism, a ridiculous notion with no basis in reality and represents an overt failure in itself to understand the policies and global perspective that differentiates progressives from other political ideologies, especially the far right. These sweeping claims and generalizations are the norm in the reality Joy Reid lives in where Hillary Clinton was a good candidate and neo-liberalism is the antidote to fascism.

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Michael Sainato’s writing has appeared in the Guardian, Miami Herald, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, Buffalo News, the Hill, Alternet, and several other publications . Follow him on twitter: @MSainat1

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