From Joe Biden’s embrace of corporate tax hikes and reining in Big Tech, to Black Lives Matter activists pushing to redirect police funds and challenge qualified immunity, we are living through a turning point in Democratic Party politics. Neoliberal figures like Rahm Emmanuel and Larry Summers no longer hold the authority they once had. Left-wing legislators like Jamaal Bowman, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez continue to gain traction in mainstream politics.
But the old guard continues to wield significant power and will be hard-pressed to admit defeat—as shown by the continued success of political strategist Bradley Tusk. Some might recall Tusk as New York Mayor Bill De Blasio’s biggest critic. Others know him best as Silicon Valley’s favorite political fixer. Teachers’ unions probably remember him comparing them to the NRA. Tusk’s particular brand of politics—lobbying against regulation on behalf of companies he then invests in—in some ways represents the last gasp of corporate control over government that has run rampant since the Reagan era.
Yet, despite his deep connections to the enemies of mainstream Democrats—Big Tech, Wall Street, police unions, and yes, even Rod Blagojevich—Tusk has remained a player in Democratic politics, even as the party has rejected its ‘free-market,’ ‘law-and-order’ proclivities of the past. In fact, far from being sidelined, Tusk, who ran Mike Bloomberg’s 2009 mayor campaign, now has a lobbying shop that is running Andrew Yang’s campaign and whose president just got a top job in the Biden administration.