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Largely symbolic, easily erased: Assessing Obama's legacy on labor and inequality.


Right now we have Trump getting ready to dismantle Dodd-Frank from top to bottom. The frustrating thing is that none of this was anticipated. Like so many other aspects of Obama's presidency, it did more to lull people into complacency than it did to spur further action.

Journalist Michelle Chen examines Barack Obama's legacy on labor and inequality - from the limits of neoliberal politics to address rapidly rising economic polarization, to a disastrous election strategy that silenced populist concerns from the left - and explains why Donald Trump is mobilizing Americans on the grassroots level far more effectively than the president most of them voted into power.

Michelle wrote the Labor and Trade section of Jacobin's feature Assessing Obama, and the article Inaugurating a New Movement for Dissent.

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Michelle Chen

Michelle Chen is a contributing editor at In These Times, a blogger at The Nation, an associate editor at CultureStrike and co-host of Dissent's Belabored podcast.


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