Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and author or co-author of several books on American politics.
The words “optimism” and “the left” do not seem to go together very well these days. The dominant view on the left--reinforced by the election of Donald Trump--is as follows: (1) progress in today’s world has largely stopped and in many ways reversed; (2) the left is weak and at the mercy of a rapacious capitalism and a marauding right; and (3) the outlook for the future is bleak, with ordinary citizens suffering even more deprivation and the planet itself sliding inexorably toward catastrophe.
Teixeira's new book, The Optimistic Leftist: Why the 21st Century Will Be Better Than You Think, maintains that all these propositions are wrong. It is not the case that progress has stopped. Today, we live in a freer, more democratic, less violent and more prosperous world than we ever have before.