Friday, October 17, 2008

Shift To The Left

If the current trends hold up, the United States will have the most progressive President since the election of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932. In addition, there will be a Democratic supermajority in Congress with the possibility of a Senate with 60 Democrats, meaning that the only effective tool of opposition for the minority party, the filibuster, will not be available to Senate Republicans.

As a person who grew up in the era of Reagan conservatism and Clinton centrism, I have no lived knowledge of a robust and empowered progressive politics. At this point, it remains difficult for me to articulate what this means. How will a hard shift left manifest itself? This will be a fascinating experience of watching and living the re-molding of national politics that happens every 30 years or so.

Many political scientists make the claim that America is, at its core, a center-right country. We are a people prone to incremental change and hostile to revolutionary tendencies. We value tradition, stability and comfort. We ascribe to a national religion of patriotism and hold out our government and culture as having a good and decent influence on the rest of the world. We are highly practical and prefer solutions to ideology. If this analysis of our political core is true, what will the consequences of moving further left be?

Mason Slidell


Anonymous said...

"having a good and decent influence on the rest of the world."

I live in Europe and I can testify how deeply Bush has destroyed this influence. For this reason we are looking forward to see Obama President.

"America is, at its core, a center-right country."
Yes, I agree, so you see Obama as a left maybe President, but IMO he isn't more on a left side than Tony Blair, for example.

Nathan O'Halloran, SJ / Mason Slidell said...


American and European politics are difficult to compare, given that in Europe there exist real leftists, namely socialists and even a smattering of old-school communists.

Obama and Blair are comparable, but that is because Blair was an aberration. Blair was an American-style triangulator, which as far as I can tell is unusual in Britain. It seems Gordon Brown is losing ground in the Labor Party for just that reason: the socialists, lead by David Miliband, want the party back.

Mason Slidell