It's been a tough decade for the political left. Eight years ago a Time magazine cover portrayed Barack Obama as Franklin Roosevelt, complete with cigarette and holder and a cover line proclaiming "The New New Deal." A Newsweek cover announced "We Are All Socialists Now."
Now the cover story is different. Time has just announced, inevitably though a bit begrudgingly, that its Person of the Year for 2016 isDonald Trump. No mention of New Deals or socialism.
It's not surprising that newsmagazine editors expected a move to the left. The history they'd been taught by New Deal admirers, influenced by the doctrines of Karl Marx, was that economic distress moves voters to demand a larger and more active government.
There was some empirical evidence in that direction as well. The recession triggered by the financial crisis of 2007-08 was the deepest experienced by anyone not old enough to remember the 1930s. Barack Obama was elected with 53 percent of the popular vote—more than any candidate since the 1980s—and Democrats had won congressional elections with similar majorities in 2006 and 2008.