Image via Jacobin
The week following the news of Nov. 8 was a tough one. Donald Trump is going to be president and everything that liberals thought they knew is wrong. We have had the time to mourn the minimum wage increases, wage gap closure, and police reform that could have been. Now, we have to brace ourselves for the the dark days ahead.
One of the clear takeaways from the days and weeks following the election is widespread disappointment with much of Internet media. Whether it is the data journalism of 538, the twee superficiality of BuzzFeed, or the hot-take machines of Slate and Salon, people have been let down by much of the coverage leading up to the election. As many of these outlets have simply dug in following the utter decimation of the Democrats, offering more of the same perspective that got us into this mess, we have further proof that new times call for new writers.
For those of you looking for a blueprint mapping a way forward for the Left, insightful commentary about how we got here, or gallows humor that actually has some bite, here are some publications that will make for good bedtime reading as you rest up for the next protest and the next burning of Donald Trump in effigy. We may be watching the world end over the course of the next four years, but at least there will be interesting writing about it along the way.
Mission: “Current Affairs is a bimonthly print magazine of culture, politics, and the absurd. We have two missions: to produce the world’s first readable political publication and to make life joyful again.”
Living at the intersection of politics, art, and media, Current Affairs has offered some of the best critiques of the political landscape, and the media and arts landscape that reacts to it. One of the funniest and most thought-provoking pieces that CA has run recently is a criticism of liberal darling Hamilton, entitled, “You Should Be Terrified That People Who Like Hamilton Run Our Country.” If that makes you doubt the serious thinking at Current Affairs (and if you read the piece, you won’t), look at its reaction to Trump’s victory, “What This Means, How This Happened, and What to Do Now.” The piece is as good a reaction to that terrible moment of Trump’s victory as can be found online. Also, the CA takedown of Vox was as richly deserved and effective as anything written about the smug center-left media complex this cycle.
The revolution should be fun, and it looks like Current Affairs is poised to make sure that is true.
Mission: “Jacobin is a leading voice of the American left, offering socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture.”
Following the election, Jacobin has seen an incredible surge in subscribers, and with a look at its work leading up to the election, it is easy to see why. The Jacobin writers were prophets of this cycle, writing again and again about how the Democrats betrayed the working class, and that could lead to the betrayal of Democrats at the voting booth. They were right, and maybe that means we should listen to them.
Rather than sitting back and cowering in fear of a Trump presidency, Jacobin’s newly released fall issue aims at mapping out the way forward. The title of their new issue is “The Party We Need,” and contents look to the future fight against fascism. One of the signature pieces in the issue is “A Blueprint for a New Party,” by Seth Ackerman. In the piece, Ackerman looks at the new electoral realities in America, and finds hope for a future Democratic Party that is organized around a party that works for working people. Just as Jacobin was uniquely positioned to comment on the flaws in the 2016 Democratic plan, it appears poised to be a guiding voice in reshaping the Left for the better.
Mission: “The Intercept is dedicated to producing fearless, adversarial journalism. We believe journalism should bring transparency and accountability to powerful governmental and corporate institutions, and our journalists have the editorial freedom and legal support to pursue this mission.”
Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald rose to prominence when he courageously reported on Edward Snowden’s leaks despite the attempted interference from a number of governments, and intimidation tactics he personally endured. Since the founding of the Intercept, reporters there have reported on issues like surveillance, the military industrial complex, and revolving door lobbying with tenacity and insight unmatched in media. Given the surveillance apparatus that will be at Donald Trump’s fingertips and the web of conflicts of interest that already appear to be bubbling up around his administration, the Intercept will be an invaluable publication in the Trump era.
Already, you can read Lee Fang’s “Donald Trump’s Big Ethics Move Is to Replace Lobbyists With Former Lobbyists,” Murtaza Hussain’s “Trump’s Support for Assad Will Make the Global Refugee Crisis Permanent,” and “Obama Refuses to Pardon Edward Snowden. Trump’s New CIA Pick Wants Him Dead,” by Alex Emmons and Naomi LaChance. If this work is any indication of what’s to come from the Intercept, this will be one publication that refuses to roll over for Trump.
Deadspin and Jezebel
Now that Peter Thiel has taken down Gawker and Trump has declared war on women, these outlets are ready to do battle. It is almost worth reading their political coverage just for the comments demanding they “stay in their lane.” Come for the comments, stay for the great writing. Since the election, Deadspin and Jezebel have sharpened their knives, and they aren’t going down without a fight.
Ashley Feinberg’s work about Trump at Deadspin has been both a feat of journalistic and satirical brilliance. Her piece “Boo Mike Pence Whenever Possible” is the only piece you need about Hamilton’s response to the vice-president-elect. “Trump’s Transition Team Is Just Now Learning What a President Does” was equally savage and hilarious. Hamilton Nolan and Jordan Sargent have been contributing equally insightful, brutal, and funny work critiquing Trump, Republicans, and the media following the election.
Jezebel’s rightful righteous anger at the president-elect and those who have enabled him has led to some of the best writing in the weeks following the End of Days. Pieces like “Don’t Take Your Eyes Off of Ivanka Trump for One Fucking Second” and “Trump Supporters Are Heroically Boycotting Starbucks by Heroically Purchasing Its Coffee” are taking aim at Donald Trump, the patriarchy, and the hubris that led us to this terrible moment in history.
We may be watching the world end over the course of the next four years, but at least there will be interesting writing about it along the way.