That's what happens when you develop a rep as perhaps Philadelphia's preeminent public agitator. Relentless, whip-smart, meticulously prepared and utterly fearless, [Helen] Gym—a private citizen who works without the heft of any meaningful institutional support—has managed to build herself one of the city's largest bully pulpits.
And bully she does. Her foes are "hilarious and dishonest." Education reformers are "corporate raiders" and "party shills." Columnists she disagrees with are operating a "Corbett PR flack machine." And that's just a sample of a 10-day run on Gym's Twitter feed. She's equally relentless when face-to-face with her targets.
But I would argue that the de Blasio moment reflects something deeper than shifting generational political allegiances or a delayed backlash against the Democratic Party's Wall Street love affair. It represents a potentially profound challenge to the dominant economic policy arguments of the last two generations, a long overdue electoral response to the corporate offensive launched by the global elite in the mid-1970s.