Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Labour Party: A Preview of the Democratic Party's Coming Collapse?

Rod Dreher has a useful analysis of the election of two British National Party candidates in the recent UK European Parliament elections here. A snippet:

"Lots of pearls-clutching in the UK right now over the election the other day of two members of the far-right British National Party to the European parliament. The BNP drew its support not from disaffected Tory voters, but from working-class voters who are fed up with Labour, which typically won their votes. Neil Clark reflects on why this happened, and how the middle-class left's obsession with cultural leftism, at the expense of economic leftism, is costing them plenty."

One problem here: the British National Party is not a "far-right" party unless this is meant in the sense that the far right and far left actually meet. Actually, the BNP is a leftist party with many characteristics of fascism. But fascism is not a conservative phenomenon, but a leftist one (National Socialism, remember?). So drawing support from Labour is a natural development for the BNP.

What I wanted to draw attention to is the point that the roots of working-class alienation from center-left parties like Labour is rooted in the obsession with cultural leftism rather than economic leftism. Homosexual rights, abortion on demand and fighting restrictions on pornography are not the highest priorities for many working people. The Democratic Party's recent victory depended heavily on its cultivation of libertarian and capitalist voters who want the left to win the culture wars. In this sense, the Democratic Party's traditional economic leftist convictions are in an uneasy alliance with right wingers who rightly, I think, see the cultural left issues as dominant in today's Democratic Party.

The danger for the Democratic Party is that if blue collar workers come to believe that the Democratic Party does not represent either their (leftist) economic interests or their (traditional) social concerns, then they may well see no point in continuing to support it. This may already be happening to the Labour Party in Britain and if the Democrats want a glimpse of their future, they might want to keep an eye on Gordon Brown's sinking ship. Are there really enough Hollywood liberal and East Coast elite votes to keep the Democrats in power? I don't think so.

1 comment:

Nathan Smith said...

The Democrats outstrip the Republicans in party affiliation by several million, but they seem to be more willing to vote for the other side than Republicans, so I think you have a good point. As for the back and forth of party dominance, I don't make much of either way. Call me after the GOP loses 6 straight presidential elections.