Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Post-Conservative Right

Over in Britland the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, spoke at the Tory party conference about what the post-Brexit Conservative Party would be all about.
Just listen to the way a lot of politicians and commentators talk about the public. They find your patriotism distasteful, your concerns about immigration parochial, your views about crime illiberal, your attachment to your job security inconvenient. They find the fact that more than seventeen million people voted to leave the European Union simply bewildering.
And the new party would be a center party.
Time to reject the ideological templates provided by the socialist left and the libertarian right and to embrace a new centre-ground in which government steps up – and not back – to act on behalf of us all.
And so that would still mean big government.
Supporting free markets, but stepping in to repair them when they aren’t working as they should. Encouraging business and supporting free trade, but not accepting one set of rules for some and another for everyone else... [provide] security from crime, but from ill health and unemployment too.
So the new Tory party in Britain is shaping up pretty well the same as the Trumpian GOP in the US. Of course it is, because it is trimming its sails to the same political winds.

Why? It is because the left is driving the white working class out of the leftist parties both in the UK and the US.

The reason for this is the same both in the UK and the US. The left has tired of its white working class little darlings, and now is leading a new tribe of victims -- minorities and women. And gays, and Muslims! Yeah, you tell me how the left is going to square that little circle.

It's easy to sneer at the parties of the right and ask why they didn't rope in the white working class a generation ago. The answer, of course, is pretty simple. The right is not out looking for voters to bribe with offers of shining sparkling free stuff. That is because the right is not that interested in power.

So the right wasn't thinking about abortion and school prayer back in the Sixties. In fact Ronald Reagan as the governor of California signed divorce and abortion laws.

But when the Christian Right revolted against Roe v. Wade and the left's war on religion it had only one place to go. The result is that the GOP is now not the country-club party of the houte bourgeoisie but the pro-life family party of the ordinary middle class.

Now the white working class is coming into the GOP out of the political wilderness. And the GOP is changing to accommodate the new arrivals, becoming more nationalist and less libertarian. Frankly, if I had my druthers, I would like more libertarian and less nationalism. But that is water under the bridge.

Over a century ago in Britain, Benjamin Disraeli tried to rally the working class to the Conservative Party with his "Tory Democracy." Something went wrong there, and the working class went Liberal and then Labour. But now it looks like, a century and more later, the working class in Britain is giving the Tories a look.

Of course that is because the white working class is not really working class any more. It is solidly middle class and wants what middle-class people want: the chance to work and to wive and thrive without having to truckle to the lord in his manor or the political boss in his Chappaqua compound.

Michael Barone has written that the Republican Party has always consisted of people that think of themselves as "typical Americans." When you look at videos of folks attending Trump rallies that is what you see. Just ordinary typical Americans rallying to the notion of making America great again.

And that, to our liberal friends, is a triumph of hate and xenophobia.

No comments:

Post a Comment