For the last twelve years, the annual Nation Cruise has facilitated numerous opportunities for fruitful dialogue among America’s leading progressives and The Nation‘s readership. This year’s cruise started off with a panel moderated by Calvin Trillin on the current political moment, with Katrina vanden Heuvel, Jim Hightower, Melissa Harris-Perry, Chris Hayes and John Nichols offering their analyses.
With Hightower advocating for the power of populist movements and Harris-Perry emphasizing the importance of voting for representatives who will push forward progressive policies in Congress and the Senate, Katrina vanden Heuvel brings these different strains together by saying it is the “combination the people’s movements and the electoral pieces that will bring about change.”
The panelists agree that we are at a critical point where the actions of citizens matter, but reforming the deeply flawed political structure will be an ongoing struggle. “We suddenly feel so stunningly disempowered to the folks that we just beat two years ago,” says Harris-Perry, “and part of it must be due to the wishful thinking that if we could change the personalities within a structure, then that would overnight change the structure itself.”
What progressive organizations such as The Nation can do, says vanden Heuvel is to “play a role in mapping what’s going on in this country” so that the people have the knowledge to act as the “countervailing force” that is needed to radically alter our political moment