Spain’s are among few social democrats in Europe who have figured out how to thrive in a new political reality.
Although the 30 percent support Pedro Sánchez is projected to win Sunday night is a far cry from the 48 percent support the Socialists won at the peak of their popularity in the 1980s, it is a significant improvement on the last two election results (22 percent in both 2015 and 2016) and almost double what the conservative People’s Party, for decades the dominant party on the right, has managed. Read more
California may be the future of the Democratic Party, but the left doesn’t have everything figured out in the Golden State.
Michael Greenberg reports for The New York Review of Books that California likes to think of itself as a liberal bastion against the far-right policies of Donald Trump.
It is refusing to cooperate with the president’s anti-immigrant policies. It has enacted its own environmental and net-neutrality laws which, given the size and influence of California’s economy, could have a nationwide effect.
But California also has the highest poverty rate in America and a quarter of its homeless. Read more
Democrats’ Dilemma Is Familiar to Europe’s Center-Left
Democrats in the United States have the same dilemma as social democrats in Europe: should they deemphasize progressive social policies in order to win back working-class voters or side with the socially progressive middle class?
The parable isn’t perfect. The big cultural issue in Europe is immigration. In the United States, it’s race relations more broadly and changing social norms.
But that makes a strategy of accommodation with blue-collar voters who switched from Barack Obama to Donald Trump in 2016 even less attractive to the American left. It would mean repudiating causes like Black Lives Matter and transgender rights because they offend Trump voters’ desire for social order. Read more
Social Democrats in Iberia and Scandinavia Try Opposite Strategies
What is the future of European social democracy? Your answer to that question may depend on where you live.
If you’re in the Mediterranean, it’s cooperation with the far left. Social democrats in Portugal and Spain have come to power under deals with far-left parties. In both cases, unwieldy coalitions were greeted with skepticism, but now Prime Ministers António Costa and Pedro Sánchez are riding high in the polls.
In Greece, Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza party has even supplanted the center-left altogether.
In Scandinavia, by contrast, social democrats are trying to win back working-class voters by taking a harder line on borders, crime and defense.
Germany’s Social Democrats Understand They Need to Pick Side
Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) recognize they should have picked a side.
In a damning analysis of the party’s dismal 2017 election performance — support fell to a postwar low of 20.5 percent — outside experts argue that the campaign lacked “substantive profile”.
The SPD has failed for years to find answers to fundamental questions and to position itself clearly and unequivocally. Whether on the issue of refugees, globalization, internal security or the diesel scandal: the party leadership always tries to please everyone.
The trouble with trying to please everyone, as I’ve argued before, is that you likely end up pleasing no one. Read more
Up with the new coalition: Accept that the old working class has moved to the right. Focus on minorities, women, college-educated professionals and the lower-educated service worker “precariat”.
Down with inequality: It holds down growth, it holds down living standards, it holds down upward mobility among the young, it leaves entire regions behind and it destroys healthy politics.
Unite the left: The era when one tendency, like social democracy, could dominate the left and didn’t need allies is over.
Forward to an open world: There is no going back to a closed, tradition-bound world.
Ride the long wave: The economic potential of our time, with its monumental technological changes, is vast, albeit held back by a lack of societal investment in the future and retrograde policies pushed by the right. The left should be all about untapping that potential and riding the long wave. Read more