Western politics is polarizing between generally older, rural, traditional and white voters, who are uneasy about the cultural and economic forces reshaping our lives, and younger, urban, secular and racially mixed voters, who welcome these changes. Also see Europe’s blue-red culture war.
Remember when George W. Bush was a fascist? When he signed the PATRIOT Act and launched the Iraq War, reasonable left-wing Americans voiced reasonable objections. The far left reached for Hitler.
Republicans dismissed this as over-the-top, because it was. (And it made it easier for them to dismiss reasonable objections as well.) So when the real thing came along, and this time not only the far left but commentators on the center-right warned that Donald Trump had a lot in common with the worst leaders in European history, many Republican voters once again shrugged.
If anything, it made them support Trump more. As one voter told The Atlantic in 2016:
Give people the impression that you will hate them the same or nearly so for voting Jeb Bush as compared to voting for Trump and where is the motivation to be socially acceptable with Jeb?
The left continues to make this mistake — and so does the right. Read more
Republicans Now Have More in Common with the European Far Right
Expect plenty of coverage between now and the 2020 election about how Democrats in the United States have moved to the left.
This isn’t wrong. On everything from health care to transgender rights, Democrats have become more left-wing.
But they’re still more centrist than most center-left parties in Europe while Republicans have moved so far to the right that they now have more in common with Austria’s Freedom Party and the Alternative for Germany than they do with Britain’s Conservative Party and Germany’s Christian Democrats. Read more
Spanish Parties Rule Out Centrist Coalition After Election
Spain’s liberal Citizens have ruled out a pact with outgoing prime minister Pedro Sánchez while the Catalan branch of his Socialist Party has said it will not support a deal with right-wing parties — making a centrist coalition after the election in April impossible. Read more
Midterm Elections Likely to Deepen Blue-Red Divide in America
Ronald Brownstein reports for CNN that the congressional elections in November are likely to deepen the divide between “blue” and “red” America:
Democrats seem likely to emerge … with a clear upper hand in highly urbanized House seats that are racially and religiously diverse, disproportionately white-collar and secular and connected to the globalized information economy. Republicans, in turn, could remain dominant in districts outside of urban centers that are preponderantly white, heavily blue-collar, more religiously traditional and reliant on manufacturing, agriculture and resource extraction.
Will Wilkinson has another excellent op-ed in The New York Times about the maldistribution of power in the United States between rural and urban areas.
Part of the problem is that America’s federal system gives sparsely populated parts of the country way more power than the cities. That wasn’t such a big problem until the rural-urban divide became partisan. Now the largely white countryside and small towns vote overwhelmingly Republican while multicultural cities elect mostly Democrats. American democracy has been thrown into a crisis of legitimacy and dysfunction as a result.
Our politics is cracking up over the density divide. Big cities and their distinctive interests are suffering a density penalty and need more visibility in our scheme of representation.