From Occupy To AOC: The Rise Of The New Progressives, Part 2

Incubation Under Obama

Barack Obama was a problem for the New Progressive movement. At Occupy Wall Street, many of his policies were attacked, but still with a kind of deference due to him being the first black president. And while Obama may have always been more leftist than he let on — for example, his abrupt “evolution” on gay marriage — he presented himself as a moderate.

Progressives, especially white progressives, had to be careful in attacking him. Some notable black progressives such as Tavis Smiley and Cornel West felt more comfortable taking aim, but in general the New Progressive movement had to bide its time.

During the four years from 2012-2016, the movement made spectacular cultural inroads with everything from movies to news to advertising to corporate culture. By the end of this period, terms like intersectionality and privilege theory had become household words.

In a recent and remarkable Twitter thread, Zack Goldberg shows graphs of searches on LexisNexis for far-left terms like privilege, intersectionality, and a host of others. They go from barely a blip to soaring heights in this period. The beginning of the upswing in almost every case is about 2010, but it wasn’t until 2012, just as the embers of Occupy were dying out, that the vast increases occur.
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