Americans are suffering the worst economic crisis and the most serious disparity between rich and poor since the 1930s. Different from the 1930s when the liberals triumphed, today we see a strong conservative movement that has mobilized many frustrated citizens to act against their own interest. We are compelled to stop and ask: What happened that has led to the conservatives’ dominance in the political debate in the country at a time of crisis? What happened to the political left?

These are the questions asked yesterday on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. The Nation‘s editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel joined host Neal Conan and Michael Kazin on the show to explore the organizing strategies on both sides and what leftist activists need to do to gain a stronger voice and organize for substantial changes to our system. Vanden Heuvel argues that the leftist movement must gain strength and insights from its populist tradition and be serious about the problem of media’s lack of coverage of activism on the left.

Jin Zhao