My survey asking for a seriously leftist columnist for the New York Times op-ed page ended at noon Sunday, after a total of 3,674 responses. Here are the top dozen vote-getters:
Nominations for this survey all came from my lefty critics on Twitter, while voting was done by the (mostly) more mainstream liberals who read my blog even on weekends. Name recognition was obviously a big factor in the voting, though I confess a little surprise that Robert Reich has such a strong following. For what it’s worth, I’d lean toward Chris Hayes, who has a long track record as a great writer, or Naomi Klein, for the same reason. Dean Baker would be great, but there’s no way the Times would have two liberal economists on their op-ed page. Nathan Robinson can write, obviously, and certainly has the dedicated lefty chops for the position.
And just what is the position, anyway? That’s hard to say. Andrew Sullivan said he thought the Times should hire someone who represents the “Bernie left,” which is fairly descriptive but a little too tied to a specific personality. The lefties who inhabit my Twitter feed would prefer to be called, simply, “the left,” but that doesn’t work. No matter what they think, common usage defines anyone left of center as part of the left. I can’t think of a version of “far left” or “extreme left” or somesuch that wouldn’t be insulting. “Socialist left” doesn’t work because that’s a really tiny group. “Social democrat left” doesn’t work either, since that includes sellout neolibs like me.
I dunno. Maybe we need another survey. The best I can do is to say that we’re looking for someone materially to the left of the leftiest columnist currently at the Times.