Barone: The Collapse of the Political LeftPosted: December 7, 2016
Leftist politicians supposed that ordinary voters with modest incomes facing hard times would believe that regulation and redistribution would help them. Evidently most don’t.
Michael Barone writes: It’s been a tough decade for the political left. Eight years ago a Time magazine cover portrayed Barack Obama as Franklin Roosevelt, complete with cigarette and holder and a cover line proclaiming “The New New Deal.” A Newsweek cover announced “We Are All Socialists Now.”
Now the cover story is different. Time has just announced, inevitably though a bit begrudgingly, that its Person of the Year for 2016 is Donald Trump. No mention of New Deals or socialism.
It’s not surprising that newsmagazine editors expected a move to the left. The history they’d been taught by New Deal admirers, influenced by the doctrines of Karl Marx, was that economic distress moves voters to demand a larger and more active government.
There was some empirical evidence in that direction as well. The recession triggered by the financial crisis of 2007-08 was the deepest experienced by anyone not old enough to remember the 1930s. Barack Obama waselected with 53 percent of the popular vote—more than any candidate since the 1980s—and Democrats had won congressional elections with similar majorities in 2006 and 2008.
“The United States Constitution was designed to provide a framework in which rights are guaranteed and voters in states can choose policies in line with their different backgrounds and beliefs.”
Things look different now, and not just because Donald Trump was elected president. It has been clear that most voters have been rejecting big government policies, and not just in the United States but in most democratic nations around the world.
Leftist politicians supposed that ordinary voters with mdest incomes facing hard times would believe that regulation and redistribution would help them. Evidently most don’t.
The rejection was apparent in the 2010 and subsequent House elections; Republicans have now won House majorities in ten of the last 12 elections, leaving 2006 and 2008 as temporary aberrations.
“The nation-state remains the focus of most peoples’ loyalties, and in a time of economic and cultural diffusion, as Yuval Levin argues in his recent book ‘The Fractured Republic’, big government policies designed for an age of centralization have become increasingly dysfunctional.”
You didn’t hear Hillary Clinton campaign on the glories of Obamacare or the Iran nuclear deal, and her attack on “Trumped-up, trickle-down economics” didn’t strike any chords in the modest-income Midwest.
Republican success has been even greater in governor and state legislature elections, to the point that Democrats hold governorships and legislative control only in California, Hawaii, Delaware and Rhode Island. After eight years of the Obama presidency, Democrats hold fewer elective offices than at any time since the 1920s.
Things look similar abroad. Britain’s Conservatives, returned to government in 2010, are in a commanding position over a left-lurching Labour party. France’s Socialist president, with single-digit approval, declined to run for a second term. European social democratic parties have been hemorrhaging votes…(read more)
Source: Washington Examiner
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