The culture war in Europe and North America pits cosmopolitan, college-educated, urban voters with liberal economic and social views against inward-looking, lower-educated voters in small towns and the countryside who resist change.
Macron, Salvini Represent Opposite Sides in Europe’s Culture War
Macron is a former investment banker who styles himself as a liberal champion of the European Union. Salvini, the leader of Italy’s far-right League party, has emerged as Europe’s leading nationalist — one who has pledged to bring the European project to a crashing halt.
Both are building transnational coalitions to contest the 2019 European Parliament elections. Read more
Gun and Immigration Debates Entrench Tribal Divisions in United States
Ronald Brownstein writes in The Atlantic that Republicans in his country have become a “coalition of restoration”: older, blue-collar, evangelical and non-urban whites most uneasy about the tectonic cultural and economic forces reshaping American life. Republican lawmakers represent those areas with the most guns and the fewest immigrants.
Democrats, by contrast, rely on a heavily urbanized “coalition of transformation”: minorities, millennials and college-educated and secular white voters, especially women. Democratic voters have fewer guns and live in places with more immigrants.
We can see a similar divide in Europe. On the one hand, inward-looking, typically lower-educated voters living in small towns and the countryside; on the other, cosmopolitan college graduates living in the big cities. Read more
Europe’s Blue-Red Culture War Comes to Czech Republic
Europe’s blue-red culture war has come to the Czech Republic, writes Jan Rovny at the London School of Economics’ EUROPP blog.
This weekend’s presidential election pitted the incumbent Miloš Zeman, “a self-styled representative of the common folk,” against the centrist, pro-European Jiří Drahoš.
The outcome — Zeman prevailed with 51 percent support — suggests that Czech politics have taken another step closer to Hungary and Poland.
This will revolve around a deepening, identity-infused contest between traditionalists touting their newfound patriotism and cosmopolitans seeking to maintain the country’s westward orientation.
Nationalist Right and Identitarian Left Feed Off Each Other
Dalibor Rohac of the American Enterprise Institute argues in The American Interest that two intolerant communities have emerged in Western democracies:
A nationalist right, whose overarching ambition is to return ethnic homogeneity and reverse the decline of status enjoyed by whites.
An identitarian left, whose goal is to rectify the injustices caused by the historic domination of white heterosexual men.
We don’t have to accept a moral equivalence between the two to see that they have things in common.
Nor does either side need to be in the majority (neither is) to pose a danger to our democracy. Read more
Brexit Has Divided Generations in United Kingdom
George Eaton argues in Britain’s New Statesman that age has replaced class as the nation’s best predictor of voting intentions.
Middle-class support for Labour and working-class support for the Conservatives rose in the last election. At the same time, the left attracted almost two-thirds of the youth vote and the right the support of almost two in three pensioners.
Young people have long been more progressive than their elders, but this wide an age gap is unusual. Read more
New Social Compact: Deregulation and Universal Basic Income
I believe that to shrink the culture gap in Western democracies — between generally well-educated “globalists” and those who feel left behind — we need a new social compact.
The twentieth century’s was built on strong trade unions, lifetime employment and health and pension benefits tied to salaried jobs. The economy, and people’s expectations, have changed in such a way that this is no longer sustainable. But we haven’t come up with a replacement yet.
The American Enterprise Institute’s Dalibor Rohac may be onto something. He calls for a “grand bargain”: serious deregulation coupled with the introduction of a universal basic income. Read more
Brexit Has Become the Totem of Britain’s Culture War
Why have not more British people changed their minds about leaving the EU now that it turns out the promises of the “leave” campaign are not being met?
Sebastian Payne argues in the Financial Times that it’s because Brexit has become the totem of the island’s culture war. Read more