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Why the Left Is Losing

The mainstream Left is in serious trouble in the West. In the December 2019 election, the UK’s Labour Party was trounced by Boris Johnson’s Conservatives 365-203 in seats, and 44-32 percent in the popular vote. This was the worst result for Labour since 1935.

Yet, as Matthew Goodwin recently noted on Twitter, the most recent election was also the worst result ever for the French Socialist Party of Benoît Hamon, and for the Left in Italy and the Netherlands. It was the second-worst performance since 1949 for the German Social Democrats, the worst finish for the Austrian Social Democrats since 1945, and the worst for the Finnish socialists since 1962. In Sweden, the Social Democrats sunk to their lowest level since 1908. This is more than a coincidence.

Cultural Realignment

Underlying the trend is a wider realignment of politics away from the economic conflicts of the 20th century toward the cultural battles of the 21st. Instead of just talking about state redistribution versus free markets, elections increasingly revolve around questions of immigration, national identity, and domestic security. This disadvantages the Left.

Why? Because, as David Goodhart remarked in an interview, it’s easier for right-wing parties to move left on economics than for left-wing parties to move right on culture.

That is, left-wing parties cannot move to the vote-rich zone of most electorates where the median voter—typically somewhat conservative on culture and centre-left on economics—resides. Conservatives can do so more easily as they are less beholden to libertarian economic orthodoxy than left-wing parties are to progressive cultural values.

Identity politics and multiculturalism are central motivating forces for the highly-educated activists who have dominated left-wing parties since the ’68 generation rose to prominence. These ideas tend to be considerably less popular than the Left’s economic offer, hence the bind the Left finds itself in.

Why Political Correctness Makes the Left Unelectable

Yet this alone cannot explain the inflexibility of left-wing parties. To do so requires an additional ingredient: the rise of political correctness. Political correctness functions as an emergent system that can push new ideas even when few people actually believe in them. Like the emperor’s new clothes, no one dares violate a taboo which may cost them dearly.

To be blunt, left-wing political correctness is more powerful than the right-wing variant. For instance, many social conservatives may dislike environmentalist candidates in their ranks, but dissidents on the left of a conservative party won’t have their character questioned and reputation trashed. By contrast, a left-wing politician who moves right on culture—calling for lower immigration or abolishing female-only shortlists, for instance—is likely to be accused of racism or sexism by radical online activists. This causes them intense embarrassment and, by triggering a social taboo, may lead others to pile on them to signal virtue. This can damage a person’s reputation well beyond politics. Something of this fate has befallen the patriotic leftists of Blue Labour in the UK, who are no longer welcome in Labour circles. Brexit-supporting Paul Embery, for instance, was kicked out of the Fire Brigades Union for criticizing the union’s position on Brexit. This, they alleged, made him an accomplice of the “nationalist Right” and thus a “disgrace to the traditions of the Labour movement.” No wonder few on the Left are willing to move right on culture.

The catalyst for the change has been the post-1960s “cultural turn” of the intellectual Left, away from class issues toward the problems of disadvantaged race, gender, and sexual identity groups. Social sanctions accompanied this change of sensibility. Figure 1 shows how the term “racist” first took off in English-language books in the late 1960s. “Sexist” followed a few years later. Both enjoyed another efflorescence in the late 1980s when “political correctness” entered the lexicon.

Figure 1. Use of Identity Politics Terms in English-Language Books, 1960-2000 (Source: Google Ngram Viewer)

These first two great awakenings of cultural progressivism—a liberal-left fusion ideology I termed “left-modernism” in my 2004 book The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America—have been followed by another, post-2014 eruption. This has been concentrated in publications such as the New York Times which are consumed by the highly-educated metropolitan Left. In figure 2, which focuses on America, we see how a combination of editorial change and what Vox’s Matthew Yglesias calls the ‘Great Awokening’ have boosted the focus on racism and sexism. This, in turn, constrains the ability of a Bernie Sanders to question open immigration, and of other candidates to reject reparations for slavery, defend the police against charges of racism, or adopt Obama-era rhetoric on border control.

Figure 2. Editorial usage of terms “sexist” and “racist” (Source: New York Times Media Analytics, accessed August 20, 2019)

The rise of identity politics stanched discussion of the cultural anxieties of many white working-class voters, who instead find themselves the object of scorn for their apparently retrograde social attitudes. Meanwhile, identity appeals attract young, educated urbanites motivated by questions of equity and diversity. This is especially true of the largely white eight percent of the American population whom the Hidden Tribes study categorises as Progressive Activists. However, since 2014, the Great Awokening spread some of these sensibilities among the third of American whites who identify as liberal.

Realignment Within Parties

The result of the new cultural realignment has been to upend the class composition of the main parties. We see this in the steady decline in class voting across western democracies in the late 20th century. In Britain, for instance, a majority of manual working-class voters plumped for Labour between 1945 and 1975. Even after that date, at least 40 percent voted for the party, with over half backing Tony Blair’s New Labour in the 1997 election. Since then, however, Labour’s support within the white working-class has fallen relentlessly, dropping to only 20 percent among such voters by 2015.

Jeremy Corbyn continued the pattern, further consolidating the university-educated metropolitan left and ethnic minority vote while losing white working-class voters in the pivotal “Red Wall” seats of the English Midlands and North that the party had held, in some cases, since the dawn of the current two-party system. It appears that Conservative voters are now more working-class than Labour’s, something unthinkable in 1945 or even 1995.

Figure 3 plots the swing to parties of the Right between the 2010 and 2019 elections by constituency. The shift of white working-class voters toward the Conservatives, as with the similar move of Midwestern blue-collar whites into Trump’s Republicans, is heavily predicted by views on immigration. As restrictionist voters in blue-collar places, such as Wyre Forest and Ashfield in the Midlands, moved toward the Tories, pro-immigration liberals in London-area seats like Battersea and Islington, or university towns like Cambridge, shifted to Labour or the Liberal Democrats.

Figure 3. Constituency voting shifts between 2010 and 2019 by immigration attitudes (Source: UnHerd Britain)

In continental Europe, most countries use a proportional representation electoral system which results in a large number of political parties catering to many political tastes. Despite the volatility and fragmentation, there has been an unmistakeable increase in populist right vote share. The 2015 Migration Crisis in particular gave right-wing populist parties a boost. European Union data shows that immigration into the European Union from outside Europe began to rise above half a million in 2013, eventually reaching two million during the height of the 2015 asylum wave. Concern over immigration rose in tandem with the numbers, with the Eurobarometer recording a steady increase. By late 2015, nearly 60 percent of survey respondents said immigration was the leading issue facing the EU. James Dennison and his colleagues found a significant relationship between immigration levels, concern over immigration, and populist right support in nine of ten western European countries between 2005 and 2016.

While centre-right parties have been constrained in the past due to pressure to maintain a cordon sanitaire against the populist right and its issue agenda, this has faded over time. In the Netherlands, Mark Rutte asked immigrants to “act normal or go away.” This burnished his nationalist credentials, helping him win re-election. In the UK, Theresa May and Boris Johnson, both of whose sympathies leaned toward remaining in the EU prior to 2016, subsequently embraced the Brexit cause, winning voters back from the populist right UKIP and Brexit Party. In Austria, Sebastian Kurz’s tough talk on immigration and integration helped him win over many populist-right Freedom Party voters. France’s Emmanuel Macron has taken a hardline stance on asylum seekers and has run afoul of progressive norms on several occasions, as when he advised African women to have fewer children. Overall, the rise in concern over immigration plays to the strength of the Right, which is trusted more on this issue than the Left.

The Exceptions

There are some countercurrents. The Left won in Portugal’s election, though the country’s small Muslim immigrant population arguably makes it different from other western European countries. The socialist PSOE managed to hang on in coalition in Spain despite a surge in support for the populist-right Vox, which won 15 percent of the vote in November 2019.

In some cases the Left can move right on culture, and when it does, it often succeeds. In Denmark, the Left has been able to overcome normative constraints and shift right on immigration and integration—sometimes in draconian fashion—facilitating its electoral success. Likewise in New Zealand in 2017, Jacinda Ardern weathered charges of racism from progressive commentators to campaign on a platform that included cutting immigration levels in half. Ardern won in coalition with the populist-right New Zealand First.

It appears left-wing parties in countries undergoing demographic change face a dilemma. Move right on immigration and risk alienating your activists, or tack left and lose elections. The one major exception to this rule is English-speaking Canada. While Quebec elected the populist-right, anti-immigration CAQ to provincial office in 2019, Canada as a whole returned the Liberal Justin Trudeau to power in the federal election the same year. Trudeau is overtly pro-immigration, post-nationalist, and “woke” on gender, aboriginal, and sexuality issues. Ordinarily, this would be a recipe for failure. So what’s different?

Essentially, English Canada lost its loyalist cultural tradition with the decline of the British Empire, creating a vacuum which 60s progressivism, in the guise of official multiculturalism, was able to fill, redefining Canadian identity. The Anglo-Canadian electorate thereby leans left politically by a 60-40 margin whereas most other western countries are evenly split. However, Canada is undergoing an unprecedented cultural and political polarization. The share of Conservative voters who approve of Justin Trudeau has hovered between just three and six percent since June 2019 compared to 90 percent among Liberal voters as of January 2020. Immigration attitudes differed by only 10-15 points between the Conservatives and Liberals five years ago, but the gap is now around 50 points. This is similar to what I found in the United States between 2012 and 2016 where Republican voters became more restrictionist while Democrats moved in the opposite direction, creating a 50-point divide over whether immigration should be reduced.

The ethnic change that is transforming western societies makes cultural issues more relevant, benefiting the Right while harming a Left that finds itself hemmed in by progressive norms, unable to adapt to new electoral realities.

Reader Discussion

Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.

on February 13, 2020 at 10:42:33 am

Fascinating article. Plenty of food for thought, especially for folks like me working daily at the chalk face. This stuff can get personal!

One small caveat: contributors to Law & Liberty need to make their nice graphs understandable to innumerate thickies like me (e.g labels on vertical scales) otherwise we won’t properly get the point.

Apart from that, excellent.

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Wil
on February 13, 2020 at 12:00:01 pm

And an update on the Leftist Darling Justin Trudeau:

https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/justin-trudeau-is-up-to-his-old-tricks-again-as-canada-heads-down-the-totalitarian-road/

where we find the totalitarian impulse and the need to crush any critical commentary on display.

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Guttenburgs Press and Brewery
on February 13, 2020 at 12:00:47 pm

You write "dissidents on the left of a conservative party won’t have their character questioned and reputation trashed." Maybe that's true in generic conservative parties, and maybe it was true in the pre-Trump Republican party, but it's certainly not true now. Of course, it's not so much ideological as personal loyalty that is now demanded. You could hardly call Jeff Flake and Mark Sanford "on the left," and even Bob Corker and Mitt Romney are at most center-right. But they've certainly been trashed.

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David D Boaz
on February 13, 2020 at 15:48:30 pm

I think Kaufmann's point is still valid. Yes, there will be Twitter insults and the like on the right. But this pales in comparison to the full-blown cancel culture that has taken root on the left. I've yet to hear of Romney or Flake being ordered out of restaurants, doxxed, or banned from campuses. (I don't count not being invited to C-PAC as being "cancelled.") And you're also speaking of some of the highest-profile Trump critics. Average "dissidents" on the right don't have to fear total exclusion from their ideological side of the aisle -- less true on the left. Finally, to me it seems clear that some prominent members of the Never Trump wing of Republicans do their best not simply to disagree, but to troll, provoke, and insult Trump Republicans with the intention of seeing a heated response. There are followers and likes to be harvested from this strategy.

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Conor O'Brien
on February 13, 2020 at 16:32:57 pm

Pretty sure Flake, Sanford, and Corker didn't criticize Trump's policies and abuses of power so they could lose their seats in Congress but get "likes." The paragraph above was specifically about people in political parties, such as politicians. And from my own observations on Facebook and Twitter I know that Sanford and Flake have taken a lot of abuse from Trump-supporting "conservatives," even though they were by any measure among the most conservative Republicans in Congress for years. So maybe they haven't been run out of a restaurant, but they've been run out of Congress by a Trump-led online mob. I'm not excusing left-wing mobs, but it's naively partisan to suggest that this sort of enforcement only happens on the left.

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David D Boaz
on February 13, 2020 at 19:02:54 pm

It's that they were harder on Trump than the radical left and their desire to end western civilization(the far greater enemy). They have valid complaints about Trump, but they're both virtue signaling cowards.

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anony mous
on February 13, 2020 at 19:09:12 pm

Perhaps you should attach your name to this scurrilous and false accusation of cowardice.

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David D Boaz
on February 13, 2020 at 19:10:20 pm

I realize this is not the main topic of this essay, and will happily let the subtopic end if there's nothing new to be said.

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David D Boaz
on February 14, 2020 at 01:44:38 am

It's simpler than this labored argument. Liberals believe in truth and conservatism is a reaction to new truth. New knowledge is more complex today than it ever has been, so with a commitment to facts, liberals find it harder to convince electorates of their positions. This is why the demographic on the left is shifting toward educated individuals and the demographic on the right is shifting toward the working class. Very few working class conservatives are going to argue against national infrastructure, which is a socialist project, or the social safety nets they are used to because they no longer fear what was a new approach after the second world war, but is now understandable. On the other hand for example, efforts to enact more representative voting systems are bound to fail until social choice is taught in public schools.

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xkz
on February 14, 2020 at 12:17:57 pm

An excellent article that shows gives a good historical and geographic perspective of other countries political experiences. The recent rout in Britain was really quite amazing and likely indicative of what will happen here in the USA. In 2016, I voted for Trump slightly holding my nose, went to bed due to Clinton not conceding, only to wake in the morning with Trump's remarkable win. And then, as described in this article, the intolerance of the left began to show its ugly face. And we have had it now for 3+ years. This election I am doing something I have never done; I am wearing a Trump hat as a sign that I have had it with all the crap that has gone on. Trump has his flaws, as I do, but he loves the USA. The Democrats or Socialists don't as they always need the political correctness, identity politics, or whatever new victim-hood flavor to the month to use as a cudgel against America and its history to garner attention. And the minority vocal Democrats tolerate no quarter if you dare cross their ideology. A well written article from a Democrat in yesterday's news cycle is a bad omen for the Left. Worth the read.

https://gen.medium.com/ive-been-a-democrat-for-20-years-here-s-what-i-experienced-at-trump-s-rally-in-new-hampshire-c69ddaaf6d07

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Michael Martin
on February 14, 2020 at 13:42:33 pm

Now here is an article in support of an argument made by Viktor Orban of Hungary.

https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2020/02/14/gun-free-britain-nearly-10000-gun-crimes-committed-in-one-year/

Orban asserts, and not without good cause, that an unspoken (by the intellectual class) defect in Leftist politics is its SHEER INCOMPETENCE. Thier policy prescriptions DO NOT work and the rag tag deplorables are finally reading through the Proggies high-sounding bullshit.
In short, they have decided that they are simply no longer willing to overlook all the cultural attacks levied against them in exchange for the promise of material rewards / comforts - especially now that the Left has made a complete bollocks of their employment prospects.

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Guttenburgs Press and Brewery
on February 14, 2020 at 13:46:55 pm

And here is another example with the Sainted Angela Merkel as foil. It seems she cannot run an economy either being more interested in pursuing her and Germany Big Power fantasies and attempting to thwart both the US (re: Iran sanctions) and the UK (re: Brexit).

More importantly, the UK has seen a 47% increase in trade since Brexit passed. Oddly enough, this contradicts the Remainers and the EU apologists dire predictions that the UK would sink without the EU.

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Guttenburgs Press and Brewery
on February 14, 2020 at 14:51:31 pm

"To be blunt, left-wing political correctness is more powerful than the right-wing variant." This does not ignore conservative political correctness, but simply claims, correctly I think, the comparative toxicity.

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Richard Wallace
on February 15, 2020 at 04:17:46 am

" Liberals believe in truth".

Define 'liberal'. It is surely obvious that "woke" progressives are deeply hostile to any inconvenient facts that folk bring up.

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Lorenzo from Oz
on February 15, 2020 at 04:21:12 am

In fact, a lot of progressive commentary seems to involve a fair bit of bullshit (statements made for rhetorical effect without regard to their truth). Russ Roberts provides some nice examples here.
https://medium.com/@russroberts/the-economist-as-scapegoat-91b317a6823e

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Lorenzo from Oz
on February 15, 2020 at 22:15:46 pm

The far left has gone from wanting a command economy (although I'm sure support for that is still strong) to a command culture, where deviations from a narrow political viewpoint are severely punished.

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Killer Marmot
on February 16, 2020 at 00:28:04 am

New Zealander here. Yes, socialist Jacinda Ardern and her left-wing Labour Party campaigned to halve immigration. Net immigration since their win two years ago? Still the same as always. NZ leads the world housing unffordability. Kiwis living in cars or on the street while refugees welcomed into new social housing and immigrants buying apartment blocks to rent out for eyegouging rates. It's sickening and immoral - but any criticism is RACISM and XENOPHOBIA.

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SoOverIt
on February 16, 2020 at 05:51:20 am

It's Simple; 'The Left' Lose Due To Their "Magical Thinking"; Their Disconnect From Reality Is Complete.
None Of Them Has The Slightest Chance Of 'Winning' ANYTHING. They Disregard The American Voter.

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Justin Stark
on February 16, 2020 at 07:29:58 am

" You could hardly call Jeff Flake and Mark Sanford “on the left,” and even Bob Corker and Mitt Romney are at most center-right. "

Flake, Sanford, Corker and Mittens weren't rejected for having leftist views. It has nothing to do with how they felt about the size of government or social conservative cred.

US Politics has been dominated by the UniParty since Reagan. How does the UniParty win no matter what? By facilitating the rise of RINO Republicans. So if Dems win, then great! But if they lose? It doesn't matter because the GOP leadership is in the bag. They say all the right things to win the election, but somehow never quite manage to succeed at implementing the policies they talked about.

I remember GW Bush at the debate podium, telling us about he will never involve us in nation-building. What does he do? He gets into never-ending wars in the middle-east, and spends trillions of our taxpayer money to nation-build Iraq. He balloons the budgets of spying agencies and dramatically curtails our privacy rights. He doesn't defend himself when attacked, leaving the conservative voters demoralized.

People like Mittens may claim that they are horrified by this or that behavior of the President, but what is he *really* upset about? He's horrified that the President is actually doing what conservative voters asked for.

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Kevin Stokes
on February 16, 2020 at 10:53:06 am

A very old book explains this in one sentence: "A bad tree does not produce good fruit".

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Fr William Bauer PhD
on February 16, 2020 at 11:08:55 am

The left is not losing. Do not underestimate the stupidity and greed of half of the population in our country.

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Burt Checa
on February 16, 2020 at 12:03:24 pm

Correct. That's because the real fascists have always been the Left, and in particular, those who bray loudest about tolerance and diversity. It's not much use trying to explain to them that diversity also means diversity of opinion. Identity politics and PC have to be overthrown with large doses of ridicule and pushback or our civilization is going down.

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Steve
on February 16, 2020 at 12:08:34 pm

Very true, but it is not just the pure leftists who are incompetent; it's our wonderful globalist "elites". They claim to know what's best for us and to have the skills to achieve it. The results, from the UN to the EU to the awful trade deals have been dire and even catastrophic. The reason even so many traditional left wingers are turning away from the lefty parties and globalism is that they know their actions will directly worsen their lives: mass immigration of completely unassimilatable (I think that's a word) people, open borders, sexual perversion and trade treaties that suck out national and local jobs. Whisper the news: Our "elites" are stupid!

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Steve
on February 16, 2020 at 16:04:15 pm

David D Boaz
Perhaps you should focus on refuting my point, and not my real name. It's no surprise those three got dumped on-for valuing the approval of their political enemies, rather than their own constituents.

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anony mous
on February 16, 2020 at 16:32:33 pm

It is simply embarrassingly wrong to claim that Sanford and Flake "valued the approval of their political enemies" rather than recognizing that they saw something very wrong and noted it. Anybody writing thing like this has forfeited any claim to respect character in public office. One definition of public character is calling out "your own side" when it's in the wrong.

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David Boaz
on February 16, 2020 at 16:49:33 pm

Oh I see. They just mysteriously had a case of selective outrage, is that it??? Funny, I don't remember them having near the courage or concerns during the previous administration. In fact, if Obama was up for impeachment(and he had FAR more reason to be), they probably would've voted against it. Romney in particular has rarely stood ground on anything that wasn't publicly popular or self-serving. Their lack of consistent concern for the executive branch is very telling...

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anony mous
on February 16, 2020 at 18:36:06 pm

No, Let us shout it from the Mountain tops" as the old spiritual used to implore.

They are not only stupid but delight in their own ignorance.

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Guttenburgs Press and Brewery
on February 16, 2020 at 20:35:58 pm

Good on facts and stats. I like facts. But, ...

First, why didn't Eric use the term 'culture war'. The left actually think they're fighting a culture war against white heterosexuality and privilege. It's their own term.

Second: 'The left is not losing', as Burt says. The Left ratcheted up the ante so much that the Right think they won by merely getting elected! Boris Johnson's Tory government in Britain are probably more to the left than Blair's Labour government were; which ended 10 years ago. Conservatives don't see it. Because you defeat the far left today you think you won. In ten years time, their loony policies of today will be the middle ground. This is the left's strategy; if strategy they have. To constantly set the agenda, to redefine the norms, in what seems a never ending culture war.

Third: No mention of the 'war against climate change' to stop the 'climate crisis'. In UK vast numbers of Tories are besotted by the lie that man-made CO2 is killing the earth. That's one example where the left set the agenda. Eric can't even see that this is an integral part of the 'culture war'.

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Mark Pawelek
on February 16, 2020 at 20:49:17 pm

and that very 'old book also said that "HE" would remove the 'sound' rulers from our midst and replace them with women and children and nit wits ... seems as though the truth hurts when exposed .......

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spartacus
on February 16, 2020 at 21:26:10 pm

[…] comfortably well-off voted for Trump, Brexit and Italy’s Lega”  Astute observation! More: Why the Left Is Losing (Law & Liberty 13-2-20) Bài Eric […]

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Image of Đối Thoại Điểm Tin ngày 16 tháng 02 năm 2020 | doithoaionline
Đối Thoại Điểm Tin ngày 16 tháng 02 năm 2020 | doithoaionline
on February 17, 2020 at 01:29:35 am

A general comment.

"political correctness"

We should acknowledge the invention of the "political correctness" by the Communist Party--I believe that of the USSR, adopted by all those local parties obedient to or influenced by the Soviet party. (I may be wrong about particulars-- the term might come from the theorists of the short-lived German communist republics post 1918, or from the theorists of the Second International in the previous century.)
The avowals an practical demonstrations of political correctness without any irony continued for decades. For instance about 1980 the Japanese Red Army announced their cruxifixion of 14 of its members (in a snowy forest) as "for politcal incorrectness".
Until the 80s, political correctness seemed mainly a wry joke by academics who were refugees from Eastern Europe, sometimes ex-communists themselves, against the conformist behaviour of their Leftist colleagues--people who accepted ruthless self censorship *without* having a secret police hanging over them. This was a bitter irony for the refugee intellectuals.
Of course the shoddiness of the doctrine is right there in its own name. Politics is a process of seeking the agreement, not a method of finding the truth and then enforcing it when it is found. In a democracy it is impossible to be politically correct or incorrect.
But the irony and the precision of thought is now lost on us.
Still, let us never forget--Political Correctness was the invention of ruthless totalitarians.

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William Laing
on February 17, 2020 at 14:19:24 pm

[…] to blow its chance to do structural economic reform. I suggested that he read political scientist Eric Kaufmann’s piece on why the Right can be flexible on economics, while the Left is paralyzed into supporting maximal […]

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Fearing The Left In Power – Right Rant
on February 17, 2020 at 17:17:18 pm

Today's Western left has nothing to do with the original liberals, the liberal bourgeoisie. Instead they are extreme left-wing fascists/autocrats who eclipse any Western right wing zealots in totalitarianism by a factor of 1000. The original liberals today are somewhere between conservatives and libertarians.

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mellator
on February 17, 2020 at 18:12:13 pm

......... ' Likewise in New Zealand in 2017, Jacinda Ardern weathered charges of racism from progressive commentators to campaign on a platform that included cutting immigration levels in half.' .........
Ardern won in coalition with the populist-right New Zealand First party.

In New Zealand's case, all of the pre-election faux leftist ire came from the Green Party, who never the less fell into line with Labour on numbers and Supply and were given a few crumbs from Labour's Treasury cake. In the meantime NZ Labour has the right-wing millstone hanging around its neck, in the form of their coalition partner, the populist New Zealand First Party. Peters the leader of NZ First has outfoxed Arden's Labour for over 2 years now and NZ Labour has little to show for their term in Parliament. A Parliament that is rapidly approaching its conclusion.

Arden's 'romance' with the MSM is a shadow of her halcyon days post election, reflected in her absence from the front pages of the 'Women's Magazines' and soft puff pieces. Arden is seen by many in NZ as a political lightweight, with only a couple of worthwhile Cabinet Ministers, the rest being both inexperienced and bumbling. Ardens only hope in holding the Treasure Benches at year's end, is support from a compliant MSM and an apparent equally lightweight Leader of the Opposition. He however leads a shadow cabinet of ruthless political professionals. Some of whom are sharpening their knives in case the National Party Leader stumbles. Time is getting short however, and Labour's coalition partner NZ First has its own problems, arising from a whiff of corruption involving Party finances, and the threat of falling below the Mixed Member Proportional 5% cutoff, in case no NZ First electorate MP manages to capture a contested seat.

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Maher
on February 18, 2020 at 05:07:48 am

[…] From the Law & Liberty website, 13 February 2020. He provides details about this trend across the West. […]

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Is the Left marching to victory – or doom? | user's Blog!
on February 18, 2020 at 08:06:28 am

Perhaps it is as simple as this. Conservative politics and principles more accurately reflect human nature in its essential form, while liberalism seeks to remake mankind in its own image. This theory accounts for the necessity for the left to continually redefine terms, to avoid logic at all costs and to make promises which cannot be kept. Eventually, even the most foolish see that the emperor is in fact naked.

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TruSkeptik
on February 18, 2020 at 08:10:47 am

Where exactly does that appear in that old book?

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TruSkeptik
on February 18, 2020 at 08:51:12 am

I n his Canadian example, the author omits one important fact: we have a relatively tough immigration policy based on points, and this policy is broadly endorsed by all parties across the political spectrum. Our geography makes it physically almost impossible to get into Canada except through the official immigration system. Points are awarded for proficiency in either English or French, education, job skills and/or professional training. Those who make it through the system are far likelier to be educated and able to earn a living, as well as sympathetic to the basic goals and values of the society, than is the case in Europe or even the USA.

The left/right divided on immigration, in Canada, is likelier to occur in the case of war refugees, where there is a sudden emergency that may requite the usual points system to be modified or temporarily ignored. In such cases, w can and do experience the expected let-more-in/let-fewer-in debate. But on day-to-day, business-as-usual immigration, there is not much daylight between right and left.

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David Cravit
on February 18, 2020 at 09:07:02 am

[…] Read Full Article » […]

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Is Political Correctness Making the Left Unelectable? - Earlnetwork Blog
on February 18, 2020 at 10:10:30 am

Corker and Flake were Obama Democrats in not-so-clever GOP disguise.

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Joe Schmoe
on February 18, 2020 at 10:15:31 am

The author claims to be talking about cultural issues, but he doesn't even mention the 2 most significant and polarizing cultural issues of the day -- abortion and gun rights. I would argue that both of those issues influence a higher percentage of voters than the cultural issues he describes.

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Doug
on February 18, 2020 at 11:33:48 am

They're losing in the short term, but surely winning in the long term simply by flooding Europe and the US with cheap Third World labor. The dirty little secret of all this is that worldwide, the Top 1% are people making over something like $33,000 per year, which is far from rich in these countries. By flooding the countries with people making less than that, they'll outvote the Middle Class, and vote for big government programs which will be paid for on the Middle Class's backs, while undercutting their wages at the same time. Those who are genuinely rich will reap the benefits. They've tried to dodge the obvious here, by making it about race, when in fact it is about economic status.

A lot of the far Left seem to have little idea what they're doing. At the moment, Bernie Sanders is plotting to remove the burden of healthcare costs from employers, who currently pay a large share of it through employee benefits, and put the burden squarely onto the backs of the average person who will pay for it in Medicare For All. That money that companies are no longer paying for Healthcare won't be added to employee's salaries, the companies will just keep it. When questioned about this, Sanders appeared not to have considered the question at all, and mumbled some reply about how they'd somehow "make" the companies pay for it. Sanders has been thinking about this stuff for decades, and still hasn't worked out the details.

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Charles
on February 18, 2020 at 11:50:26 am

There is Liberalism the intellectual principle, Liberal social/culture principles, and the real deal: Liberalism, "what you get for going to your lousy job, obeying the law, & paying your taxes." Napoleon said, "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich." In Britain it's the NHS.

Before any Brexit leave vote was assured, the retention of the liberal icon NHS had to be assured. If Boris Johnson had proudly stated as he no doubt would have loved to that he was going to sell British health care to insurance companies from the USA, Brexit would have remained a wish list item for disgruntled bigots. Then even with the NHS assured, Brexit rode a low ground swell of fish quotas and images of a few angry imams. If I were a British multi-millionaire I'd want quite a bit more covering my back against prospective future Liberal action than fried pollack.

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Image of Chris Kent
Chris Kent
on February 18, 2020 at 12:03:07 pm

Liberals may believe in truth, but liberals are nearly extinct (except eg Dershowitz), replaced by progressives who have all the tolerance of Stalin.

“New Truth”? Sounds like something from 1984.

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Image of David H
David H
on February 18, 2020 at 12:11:30 pm

Neither the US nor Europe is "flooded with cheap labor" and you cannot demonstrate that with facts. "Flooded with cheap labor" would be a country like Saudi Arabia. Yes labor is cheapened in the 21st Century, but it's because what used to be made in the US can now be made overseas where costs are low. The irony is that while some Americans complain, they still pack WalMart every day happily buying those cheap goods marked made in China. So NO, labor costs are not driven by immigration. They are set by Wall St., who owns manufacturing and puts it where they wish to put it. The answer is collective action by workers ie labor organization.

Bernie Sanders idea of national health insurance was proposed by Nixon in 1968, the Heritage Foundation, and Bob Dole, and is simply a logical pathway for a health care system. Employer provided health care is like an employer provided leg chain to your machine. The models for implementing it exist all over the world, not too many things are better tested. You want to be angry at a mystery high cost program, audit the Pentagon.

You cannot provide more freedom to an American as easily than to free them to find work they prefer to do, where they prefer to do it, rather than be at a job because of the insurance. It will be paid for via corporate taxes that now flow into the pockets of the investment class and will be less burdensome because total costs will go down.

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Chris Kent
on February 18, 2020 at 12:38:23 pm

It's true that Saudi Arabia has a greater supply of it than Germany. That's why Germany is trying to import as much of it as possible. it's not clear that that somehow invalidates the point being made (you didn't explain it very well).

The ad hominem attack on US purchasers may be factually correct, but so what? They see the benefits of cheap goods, but the cost is less obvious. People who DO see the cost react to it. Those who don't see it don't. Simple.

Bernie may not have invented the idea, but he's the one pushing it now, without working out the problems. My employer pays thousands of dollars for my healthcare benefits that would fall on my back in a Medicare For All system, without a commensurate raise in salary. You haven't explained why I should support that. ("The Pentagon costs a lot too" isn't an answer.)

After Obamacare, I'm less likely to trust them again, because the same promise was made then. Health Care Costs were supposed to go down. According to Jonathan Gruber's confession, they never intended to keep that promise, and sold it on the gullibility of the American people. Fool me one, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

Worse yet, when called on this broken promise (that health care costs would go down), the Talking Point I heard over and over was that they had somehow kept the promise because health care costs went UP less than they might have without Obamacare. I'm really not keen to trust something important to people who don't know the difference between rising costs and falling ones. Keeping a promise means doing what you said, not doing something you think is good but which you never promised at all.

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Image of Charles
Charles
on February 18, 2020 at 12:46:43 pm

Interesting oped, but the assumption is that Bernie will be the Dem Nominee and if it is not, the Bernie base will not vote. I think Mr. Kaufmann is making a mistake in underestimating the desire that 50% and greater of the likely voting population's number one issue is getting rid of Trump. His daily actions only reinforce this issue. It is alos possible that Trump could be indicted before November as well

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Image of Mick
Mick
on February 18, 2020 at 13:05:17 pm

The left's big problem is self created. Intersectionality has become its new central connecting theme , the ideology which allows the unity of the multiple interest group factions into a supposedly unified common front.It is just too big an unwieldy a notion for common sense voters to swallow , because it demands the acceptance of obviously fictional "truths ", such as allowing Trans women to compete in women's athletic events, accept that AGW will "boil the earth" in 20 years, that free tuition in public colleges can be established without completely disrupting the higher education system , that "carbon" can be drastically reduced without drastic economic consequences, etc. It's just too big to swallow whole.

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Image of rwisrael
rwisrael
on February 18, 2020 at 13:28:06 pm

Corker, Flake and Romney were not crushed for their political positions, they were crushed becaused to picked a fight with Trump. Also, Corker and Flake only were "brave" after they decided not to seek reelection and were leaving politics,.

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Image of John Frye
John Frye
on February 18, 2020 at 14:26:58 pm

Mr. Frye, you are conflating the real issue at hand.

flake et. al. are not pro America. They are part of the uniparty corrupt establishment.

Who cares what they say. It’s what they do was pointed out by Trump.

These traitorous leeches have done more to destroy the cohesiveness and potential of the United States than any outside power.

Liberals destroy everything that they touch because they are corrupt & incompetent while conservatives may be corrupt but they are normally competent. The outcome of this fact is everywhere liberals are in charge. Baltimore (double the murder rate of Guatemala), California (decriminalization of public defecation, illegal immigration and even robbery).
High crime, rampant homelessness, even medieval diseases like leprosy and typhoid are markers for this liberal incompetence.

what does one say about an ideology that believes that there are more than two biological genders.

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Image of Llyod Wehnes
Llyod Wehnes
on February 18, 2020 at 14:40:37 pm

Exactly. Hence the magical thinking and projection.

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Image of Lloyd
Lloyd
on February 18, 2020 at 14:53:58 pm

You know what's hilarious? It looks like Medium is shutting that article down with a 500 error except no 500 error is occurring from my side and I can see the response object with the article text.

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Image of Matthew A.
Matthew A.
on February 18, 2020 at 16:33:07 pm

YOU ARE ALL WRONG!
THE REASON THAT THE LEFT IS LOSING (OR SOON WILL) IS EVIDENT IN THE FOLLOWING:

https://hotair.com/archives/jazz-shaw/2020/02/18/pennsylvania-school-calls-cops-syndrome-kindergartener-finger-gesture/

They are morons and the people are finally waking up to that fact and as the above example shows they lack the good sense of even a down syndrome affect child.

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Image of gargamel rules smurfs
gargamel rules smurfs
on February 18, 2020 at 17:19:09 pm

Interesting read. Some bizarre comments.
Migration began when we crawled out of the swamp.
Today it has became a very serious issue on this planet of nearly 8 million folks.

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Image of Calvin E Lash Jr
Calvin E Lash Jr
on February 18, 2020 at 18:53:10 pm

"They are set by Wall St., who owns manufacturing and puts it where they wish to put it. The answer is collective action by workers ie labor organization."
This is an economically illiterate statement. They put it were market forces(supply and demand, etc) force them to put it. Otherwise, you'd have to explain why ANY WORKER is making more than minimum wage, let alone ANY rise in wages at all.

"Bernie Sanders idea of national health insurance was proposed by Nixon in 1968, the Heritage Foundation, and Bob Dole, and is simply a logical pathway for a health care system"
And??? Your point is??? So what as far as them being just as economically ignorant as the next guy. Hardly a reason for others to follow in their footsteps.
"
"Employer provided health care is like an employer provided leg chain to your machine. The models for implementing it exist all over the world, not too many things are better tested. "
Employer provided is a result of gov't intervention-forbidding the raising of wages by FDR, and the employers trying to find other ways to compete for wages(like health" insurance").
Your car insurance doesn't pay for your car or oil changes, and your homeowners insurance doesn't pay for your home or new sofa. Facilitating the insurance claim for care model is a gov't indices one. Cosmetic surgery and Lasik aren't covered by insurance, yet those medical procedures have fallen in price 20-25% in just 10-15yrs. The TRUE free markets has been empirically better tested. Can't disagree w/ you at all re: the Pentagon.

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Image of anony mous
anony mous
on February 18, 2020 at 22:29:41 pm

Thanks for your comments. I think the notion that the RINOs were expected to pledge personal fealty to Pres. Trump is provably false, but they failed at every turn to attack the Leftists when they posed a clear danger to the Republic.

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Image of David J
David J
on February 18, 2020 at 22:48:35 pm

You keep on using the world "educated" incorrectly.

The vast majority of those left voters aren't educated. They are, at best, credentialed. More realistically, they're indoctrinated.

People who are actually educated don't side with political correctness, and the speech stifling it requires.

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Image of Greg Q
Greg Q
on February 19, 2020 at 05:50:36 am

[…] Why the Left is losing.  Here’s my favorite bit: […]

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Image of Animal’s Hump Day News | Animal Magnetism
Animal’s Hump Day News | Animal Magnetism
on February 19, 2020 at 09:42:11 am

This merits some context. Corker, Flake, and Romney are tolerable -- albeit tiresome -- when the GOP has 58 Senate seats. They aren't when the party only holds 51 or 52 seats.

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Image of Steve Levy
Steve Levy
on February 19, 2020 at 09:57:46 am

50% and greater of the likely voting population’s number one issue is getting rid of Trump.

40% at best. The 20% in the middle WILL be voting for Trump in November.

It is alos possible that Trump could be indicted before November as well

And it's stuff like this that makes us conservatives think that liberalism really is a mental disorder. How many made-up, fraudulent attempts to bring down a sitting president will it take before your side comes to the conclusion that Trump is probably the most HONEST president in 100 years? Not a single thing they've tried to indict, accuse him of, etc., has stuck, even with the help of a completely in the bag of the left media pushing every lunatic conspiracy theory your side has come up with.

Your feelings and hatred blind you to the truth: you're incapable of reason.

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Image of I Callahan
I Callahan
on February 19, 2020 at 11:47:41 am

What exactly is 'right' or 'center-right' or 'conservative' about using the power of transnational capital to enrich a transnational global elite at the expense of Americans who need jobs in America at American wage levels?

The 'right' isn't about free-market-above-all. This is rhetorical sleight of hand and an attempt to disguise what has really happened. The RINOs and Libertarians who sell out Americans to make themselves a quick buck and enrich these billion dollar corporate entities are not on the 'right' in any meaningful sense. The 'Right' is a coalition that respects the family, tradition, and legitimately wielded authority.Nothing in that broad constellation of ideas implies that the radical economic ideology of open-borders Capitalism is actually meaningfully aligned with the values of the right.

Human beings are not interchangeable cogs in a corporate profit-producing machine. It's simply not possible to have a coherent culture if human beings are expected to upend their lives, families, and traditions to go chase down a job. We've seen the negative effects of this ideology over the past 70 years. Stagnant wages, between 30-40 million illegal immigrants soaking up the low-skilled jobs, with just as many legal immigrants soaking up the high-skilled jobs. Decline of standards of living, destruction of communities, spiking prices of necessities, housing crisis, and a realization that the American dream was sold out by politicians and corporate interests with no concern for the long-term consequences.

There's a big tent here for people who are legitimately interested in addressing the issues of Americans. But just because it's a big tent doesn't mean we can't identify and call out the traitors who pose as our allies, but stab us in the back time and time again.

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Image of Will C.
Will C.
on February 19, 2020 at 12:02:13 pm

To Will
I have heard there are only 5000 "people" on the planet? Everyone and eveything else is a commodity!

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Image of Calvin E Lash Jr
Calvin E Lash Jr
on February 19, 2020 at 18:42:05 pm

[…] Why the Left Is Losing […]

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Image of Why the Left Is Losing - Blue Links
Why the Left Is Losing - Blue Links
on February 20, 2020 at 16:10:49 pm

No one is under any obligation to reelect politicians who betray their voters trust. Grow up.

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Image of Marcus
Marcus
on February 24, 2020 at 17:48:51 pm

[…] Why the Left Is Losing   These first two great awakenings of cultural progressivism—a liberal-left fusion ideology I termed “left-modernism” in my 2004 book The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America—have been followed by another, post-2014 eruption. This has been concentrated in publications such as the New York Times which are consumed by the highly-educated metropolitan Left. In figure 2, which focuses on America, we see how a combination of editorial change and what Vox’s Matthew Yglesias calls the ‘Great Awokening’ have boosted the focus on racism and sexism. This, in turn, constrains the ability of a Bernie Sanders to question open immigration, and of other candidates to reject reparations for slavery, defend the police against charges of racism, or adopt Obama-era rhetoric on border control. […]

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Image of Linkskrieg: Politicians Price Tags and the Great Black Nope
Linkskrieg: Politicians Price Tags and the Great Black Nope
on February 27, 2020 at 01:39:21 am

Left wing parties actually got over 50% of the vote share in the UK. The left's problem in the UK is the split vote.

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Image of bob
bob
on February 27, 2020 at 07:01:08 am

[…] 1. Eric Kaufmann writes, […]

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Image of The left cannot move center | askblog
The left cannot move center | askblog

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