Three Reasons Liberals Need to Look Left, Not Right, for Allies

Economic liberals now have more in common with social democrats than they do with conservatives.

A couple cycles past the Arlington Memorial Bridge in Washington DC, December 25, 2016
A couple cycles past the Arlington Memorial Bridge in Washington DC, December 25, 2016 (Kian McKellar)

Leonardo Carella, an expert on Italian politics, argues that, strategically and policy-wise, pro-market liberals now have more in common with social democrats than they do with conservatives.

I think he is right, for three reasons:

  1. Liberal democracy: After Donald Trump was elected, I argued here that Americans who care about liberal democracy and the rule of law need to vote Democratic. Jonathan Rauch and Benjamin Wittes recently made the same argument in The Atlantic. Similarly, in Europe, ever-closer unionists and Euroskeptics need to bury the hatchet. The priority is saving the European project from those who would take the continent back to the days when every nation needed to fend for itself.
  2. Values: The political divide is shifting from left-versus-right to open-versus-closed. Conservatives are making common cause with nationalists. Free marketeers need to team up with social democrats in order to defend the open society.
  3. Economics: Donald W. Dworkin argues in The American Interest that capitalists and workers share interests against rent-seekers in health care, housing and higher education.