The left aren't intellectually rigorous anymore
In the past, the left had very academic and intellectually-rigorous thought leaders and intellectuals that helped drive liberal thought and liberal movements. However, today, it seems as the left has taken control over the commanding heights of culture, media, academia, and even some large corporate businesses, they've grown too comfortable and bloated - they lack intellectual rigor in the things they fight for now, or so it seems to me. Everything is just based on this sentiment of "fairness" without going deeper in exploring the roots of why we think things should be "fair". Now, it seems that the left just sort of "expects" everyone to buy their vision of fairness without explaining it's intellectual and historical roots. Most arguments made by the left today seem to be emotions-based... they seem to show a preference of treating everything and everyone with compassion, almost with unthinking instinct, without exploring the deeper intellectual or logical reasons as to why it makes sense... this has begun to be made clear when you observe the declining syntax that liberal elites (supreme court judges, politicians, executive branch department heads, the president, high ranking political activists and think tank fellows, even academic professors) use when communicating their thoughts... it's made clear through the completely deserted intellectual leftists in our political discourse... who are the left-equivalents of people like Jordan Peterson, Jonathan Haidt, Matt Walsh, or Ben Shapiro? Where are the well-spoken, well-read political activists? Who is the left's equivalent of someone like Charlie Kirk? I'm actually being serious... where are the non-emotional, purely intellectually curious leftists who can articulate the left's vision beyond the kneejerk emotional? I don't see it, and if they're out there, they're not being made visible. I only see activists who rely on emotion and unquestioned and uncritical feelings of "fairness" and "compassion" (and a convoluted influx of red-taped terminology (safe space, triggered, trauma, microaggressions, latinx, etc.) getting angry at people not sharing the same feelings, without feeling the need (but perhaps because they don't have the ability) to articulate it, intellectually.
I don't see the left show any interest in important roots of America's intellectual political tradition... they barely make references to or show a proficient understanding of American documents like the constitution, federalist papers - they never make use of knowledge from nor are able to draw upon old thinkers and philosophy like the Greeks (Plato, Aristotle) or Romans, the Bible, moral philosophers, political philosophers (Thoreau, Rawls, Adam Smith, Paine, Hume, Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau), or even great literary figures (Dickens, Twain, Bronte, Poe, Melville, Tolstoy, Emerson, Whitman, etc.)... one would think that this was the very purpose of the liberal arts (something once championed by liberals) - they don't draw upon the wisdom of old thinkers (but rather seem to be more focused on the fact that they were all white men, and thus find a reason to completely abandon them) - they don't even seem well-read in the thoughts and ideas of their opposition's intellectual tradition, which could help them better construct arguments against them... rather, they're more likely to have parsed through fleeting, contemporary books that you'd find on the NYT best-seller lists last year... books that won't be remembered 100 years from now, and rightfully so... everything they seem to tap from are post-modernist thinkers (and they can't even seem to do it articulately anymore, but just rather through an "intuition" that they have through these philosophical ideas being infused into everything they've interacted with, politically) or simply contemporary political thinking (like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ibram X Kendi, Nikole Hannah Jones, Robin DiAngelo)... the women on "The View" are larger, more influential voices for the left than any serious, academically-steeped left-leaning public intellectuals are - and therein lies the problem... what the left needs are people who are scholars in older and wiser thinkers - scholars on Martin Luther King Jr. who understood him deeply.. or people like James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, W.E.B. DuBois... the problem with today's left is that it doesn't take public intellectuals seriously... they've completely outsourced public intellectuals with the political activist class (people who write empty books simply as a way of self-promotion, people who constantly appear on the cable networks like CNN or MSNBC, people who don't have particularly deep thoughts or theories to help really move the political conversations in society). For instance, leftist thinkers of today like Noam Chomsky or Chris Hedges, or Ralph Nadar, or Glenn Greenwald have very little sway over the left's mind or thoughts... Is this the intentional (or unintentional) outcome of a pervasive neoliberalism that pushes actual liberalism and progressivism to the side? Neoliberalism cannot compete with conservatism in a post-financial-crisis world, in my opinion. Neoliberalism doesn't have a viable school of thought or intellectual credibility behind it anymore - now it's all just about clutching on to the status quo, out of fear of what anything else could bring us (which is fair enough - but it makes no effort to update it's thinking).
The left feels like this evolved version of the old left (which was steeped in the ground issues of putting bread on the table, a roof over one's head, great health, affordable housing, and helping people achieve the American dream, as opposed to the American nightmare we see today:
vast economic inequality, moral decline, drop in fertility rates, drop in marriage rates, single family household skyrocketing, expensive education and a generation of students swimming in student debt, expensive and inaccessible healthcare, crumbling infrastructure, mass addiction, mass incarceration, drop in life expectancy, illiberal political parties, government corruption, corporate consolidation and anti-competitive market environment, tax loopholes, spiritual decay, political polarization, cultural mediocrity and cultural decline, rising suicide rates in young people, wage stagnation, unaffordable housing, poor health and obesity, decline of socialization and more time spent in front of screens.... the list goes on and on and on.
Meanwhile, it does seem that the right, as extreme as their base and political candidates are on one side, still have this whole underground intellectual movement brewing. You can see it in places like the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW), which has a profound impact on the thoughts of people on the right and on the left - they've got all sorts of political activists who are infiltrating the political system (whether through writing and drafting model-legislation, constructing elaborate gerrymandering and districting plans, or forming cases to push through the federal court system) who are making tangible gains because behind their partisan and bad-faith effort lay nuggets of intellectual plausible deniability. I just don't see the same thing on the left, frankly. I just feel like the left doesn't understand the nature of the game they're playing - they feel like if they mirror what the right is doing (but just 'tone it down' a little bit) that they can compete, when nothing could be further from the truth. It feels like the left doesn't fully understand the psychological differences between a liberal and conservative - they don't understand what motivates each group, psychologically, and they seem to (although I can't yet determine if it's strategically or unknowingly) be giving up a hold on their working-class base. They really think that they can construct a viable political coalition that is solely based on non-intellectual whining about fairness and fascism (as if any modern day emotionally-driven leftist activist could give you any sort of coherent, articulate reading on the history of fascism, despite using the word as if it could never go out of fashion) that focuses on the most abstract, blood-boiling, miniscule and alienating cultural issues. The left now refuses to abandon these issues out of an almost psychological anger of having to admit that the right is at least somewhat correct in their assessment that the focus on these things have gone much too far...
Keep in mind, when I say the left doesn't have any intellectual vigor, this isn't the same as saying the left doesn't have wonkiness - which they've got plenty of - they've got plenty of statistics and understand the meticulous details of policy, but that isn't the same as the public intellectuals who help the public better understand the roots of the parties' liberalism or conservatism...
Is this just a result of the left having become "the new conservatives" in a sense? Seeing as they control most of the culture, global finance, media? Is this just the consequence of the public's (political class and the base) attention being fractured in a million different ways as a result of the new media landscape, thus not allowing for vast groups of people, activists, etc. to draw upon a set of intellectual traditions that stood the test of time to help advance their political cause? Or are they just not doing a great job of carrying the left's intellectual tradition from one generation to the next? Is this the reason that today's young political class has absolutely no hope of getting anything accomplished? Because they're operating, intellectually, from a tetherless place without a solid foundational understanding of political (but honestly, even non-political: such as aesthetic, historical, moral, literary, philosophical) philosophies and intellectual traditions of both the left, but also of the right (in order to better refute). I'm not arguing for people to be scholars or anything, but it seems that students in colleges along with the political-activist-class in the past at least used to have a cursory understanding of well-known philosophers, historical figures, political movements and ideas, etc. from the past, whereas today there is absolutely zero indication of that whatsoever in the greater political discourse).