[Note: This item comes from friend Ed DeWath. DLH]
The End of the Left and the Right as We Knew Them
By Thomas B. Edsall
Jun 22 2017
By now it has become quite clear that conservative parties in Europe and the United States have been gaining strength from white voters who have been mobilizedaround issues related to nationalism — resistance to open borders and to third-world immigration. In the United States, this development has been exacerbated by ongoing conservative recruitment on issues of race that has reinforced opposition to immigration. On the liberal side, the Democratic Party and the center-left European parties have been allied in favor of globalization, if we define globalization as receptivity to open borders, the expansion of local and nationalistic perspectives and support for a less rigid social order and for liberal cultural, immigration and trade policies. In recent decades, these parties, both in Europe and in the United States have begun to include and reflect the views of large numbers of well-educated elites— relatively affluent knowledge or creative class workers — in alliance with predominantly nonwhite minority constituencies of the less well-off.
Ewald Engelen, a social scientist at the University of Amsterdam, argues that the old paradigm of a left arguing for strong government intervention and a right preferring market solutions to social problems has been replaced. “Today,” he told Al Jazeera,“we see that the dominant dichotomy has become globalism versus nationalism.”
Stewart Patrick, the director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, elaborated on these trends in an email:
The most salient political division today is not between conservatives and liberals in the United States or social democrats in the United Kingdom and France, but between nationalists and globalists. The victory of the Leave campaign in Britain, the triumph of Trump, and the unprecedented success of Marine Le Pen’s National Front (albeit in a losing effort) were underpinned by economic and cultural anxiety that transcended traditional ideological lines — and a rejection of conventional parties and a political establishment that had too long ignored those concerns.
In the United States, Sean McElwee, a policy analyst at the liberal think tank Demos, and Jason McDaniel, a professor of political science at San Francisco State University, examined data from American National Election Studies and reported in The Nation that
Trump accelerated a realignment in the electorate around racism, across several different measures of racial animus — and that it helped him win. By contrast, we found little evidence to suggest individual economic distress benefited Trump. The American political system is sorting so that racial progressivism and economic progressivism are aligned in the Democratic Party and racial conservatism and economic conservatism are aligned in the Republican Party.
In their essay, McElwee and McDaniel graphed data documenting their findings, which is reproduced in the accompanying chart. White voters who supported Trump were decidedly strong on measures of anti-black affect and hostility to the integration of immigrants into the population of the United States.