Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Globalism's Realignment

Yesterday, I wrote about how the Brexit vote could signal the end of the British party system.  If Labour collapses in its contradiction between urban, cosmopolitan liberals and working class voters, and the Conservatives crack up between its cosmopolitan wing and its nativist wing, what does that mean for the US.

Like Britain, the US has two main dominant parties.  Unlike the US, Britain has viable third parties.  Some new coalition between the Lib Dems and the cosmopolitan Labourites could come into being.

But we are getting wind of the effects of Trumpism on the GOP, too.  As Josh Marshall notes, both Brexit and Trumpism are a phenomenon of the older, whiter portions of both countries.  In both cases, the relative decline of white men is a real thing.  This isn't to say - as many Trump supporters believe - that white men are treated worse than minorities.  Ask the Stanford rapist about that.  But it is a relative decline, and it is real.

Demographically, there are enough old white people in Britain to engineer Brexit.  I don't think there are enough old white people in America to give us President Trump.  Certainly today's poll would suggest that Trump has very little room for error.  And some old white men - I'm looking at you, George Will and Hank Paulson - are unable to throw their support behind Trump.  A Trump thrashing in November might suggest a crackup of the existing Republican party.  If the white ethnonationalist, Trump wing of the GOP is truly ascendant, and if Trump brings ideas and rhetoric into the GOP lexicon, where does the cosmopolitan right in America go?  Where does Wall Street go?

And if they reluctantly move to the Democrats, what does that do to the Sanders Left?  They have already shown great hostility towards any accommodation between the Democratic party and finance.  They don't want Dodd-Frank, they want blood.  Are there any working class Democratic votes left to move to the GOP on economic nationalism terms?

During the '60s civil rights movement, one of Martin Luther King's arguments was that you had to deal with him or you would wind up dealing with Stokely Carmichael or Malcolm X.  For the global elite - college educated, internationally connected through trade and culture - this year should be a wake up call.

It is time to take the plight of working class people in the developed world seriously.  That means wealth transfer from the top to the bottom.  Guaranteed minimal income.  Housing and food benefits.  Something.  Otherwise, you are looking at more Trumps and more Brexits.

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