Edwards and His Audience

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


NASHUA—John Edwards and entourage of Bonny Raitt and Jackson Browne arrived in New Hampshire yesterday and immediately set out on a barnstorming tour of the state. At Webster College here last night a packed auditorium of 350-plus waited an hour for crews to hook up the audio equipment, and then applauded politely when Edwards took the stage after a couple of songs.

Edwards launched into his boyish Huey Long routine—critical of insurance and drug companies, opposing nuclear power, down on coal liquefaction, although pointedly not opposed to developing technology to make coal clean. The audience broke into a cheer when Edwards said torture was un-American and he was against it. He embraced the campaign to stop global warming and spoke knowledgeably of his plans for universal health care, including what amounts to a partial single-payer scheme. He wants combat troops out of Iraq, no permanent bases, but also desires a stable government.

All of this was a little too good to be true, especially if one had witnessed the same man four years ago, timidly promising reform legislation to nudge corporate America into putting more information on product labels. That was not exactly what you’d call populism. It was all Democratic Leadership Counsel stuff—middle class tax relief, soccer moms, and technology innovation. Government regulation is a dirty word to the neoliberals at the DLC associated with the long dead vestiges of the New Deal—something the small clique of decrepit liberals drag out of the closet every four years. Get over it. The DLC doesn’t discuss the poor, which it eagerly and successfully had sought to kick off welfare—part of the Clinton legacy. John Edwards’ turning against the DLC line (he was never an official member, but was widely viewed as a de facto member) represents a radical change—so abrupt it makes some voters a bit nervous, and others outright suspicious. Last night people clearly liked Edwards but wondered if he was not too good to be true. The overall result is an odd disconnect between the man and his audience.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate