It may be a bit of an exaggeration to say that 2017 was the best of times and the worst of times for classical liberalism in the United States but not much of one.
While he does not write that much these days, Duncan Kennedy used to be a big deal. Kennedy was one of the leaders of Critical Legal Studies, the far leftist group of scholars who had a significant influence in the legal academy in the 1970s and 1980s. Interestingly, CLS seemed to lose tremenous influence after the fall of the Soviet Union, raising questions about their claim to favor a different type leftism than that country.
Dudes and Pharisees. Mugwumps. Those were just some of the names that party regulars called the disaffected Republicans who refused to support James G. Blaine for President in 1884.
That contest, which pitted Blaine against Democrat Grover Cleveland, was one of the nastiest in American history. And it has much to teach us about Senator Jeff Flake’s indictment of American politics today.