Is the Left marching to victory – or doom?

Summary: The Left has become more powerful than ever before in US history. They are marching across America. Do they march to victory or to self-destruction? Here is an argument for each future.

Angry mob. ID 111755897 © Siarhei Nosyreu | Dreamstime.
ID 111755897 © Siarhei Nosyreu | Dreamstime.

Why the Left is strong

From an analysis by Rod Dreher at National Review.

“What is more interesting is how the corporate world has been taken over by these same values. The idea that corporations are in any way conservative is a badly outdated concept. What I hear often from conservatives within corporate environments is how progressive social beliefs are made the law (so to speak) of the workplace by being disguised as therapeutic methods of achieving diversity, inclusion, and equity.

“As ever, LGBT activists were pioneers in this, conquering elementary and secondary school culture by selling progressive cultural politics as “safety” measures. Middle, upper-middle, and wealthy people who populate these institutions and professions, especially in managerial ranks, quickly absorb this cultish religion, which they then use to bully people who don’t agree – especially both religious people and working-class people who have not been acculturated into these norms via college education – into submission.”

Now, for the other side of the coin …

“Why the Left Is Losing”

By Eric Kaufmann.

The mainstream Left is in serious trouble in the West. …{due to the} 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 1968 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.

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. …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. …

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.

Editorial usage of “sexist” and “racist” (New York Times Media Analytics, accessed 20 Aug. 2019).

Use of Racism and Sexism in the NY Times

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.

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

Eric Kaufmann is a professor of politics at Birkbeck College, University of London. His previous books include Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? – Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century and The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America.


Why the Left might lose big, or win

Like the Rabbit–Duck illusion, this story can be interpreted in two different ways.

After Attending a Trump Rally,
I Realized Democrats Are Not Ready For 2020.

By Karlyn Borysenko at Medium.
“I’ve been a Democrat for 20 years. But this experience made me realize how out-of-touch my party is with the country at large.”

“If you had told me three years ago that I would ever attend a Donald Trump rally, I would have laughed and assured you that was never going to happen. Heck, if you had told me I would do it three months ago, I probably would have done the same thing. So, how did I find myself among 11,000-plus Trump supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire? Believe it or not, it all started with knitting.

“You might not think of the knitting world as a particularly political community, but you’d be wrong. Many knitters are active in social justice communities and love to discuss the revolutionary role knitters have played in our culture. I started noticing this about a year ago, particularly on Instagram. I knit as a way to relax and escape the drama of real life, not to further engage with it. But it was impossible to ignore after roving gangs of online social justice warriors started going after anyone in the knitting community who was not lockstep in their ideology.

“Knitting stars on Instagram were bullied and mobbed by hundreds of people for seemingly innocuous offenses. One man got mobbed so badly that he had a nervous breakdown and was admitted to the hospital on suicide watch. Many things were not right about the hatred, and witnessing the vitriol coming from those I had aligned myself with politically was a massive wake-up call. …”

Does this foreshadow the long-awaited counter-revolution against the ascendant Left, as the silent majority awakens? Or does it show how the Left has taken root in even conservative communities? Dalrock has documented how radical feminism has taken hold in “conservative” Christian communities (e.g., here, here, and here). Does the Left have sufficient momentum to win?

Remember, anything is possible in ClownWorld. Predictions are futile.

For More Information

Ideas! For some shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon. Also, see a story about our future: Ultra Violence: Tales from Venus.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about ways to reform America, about the Left-wing, about the Right-wing, and especially these…

  1. The Left goes full open borders, changing America forever.
  2. Visions of America if the Left wins.
  3. The key insight: the Left hates America and will destroy it.
  4. The Left can win in 2020 and dominate US politics.
  5. The middle in American politics has died. Now extremists rule.
  6. Glimpses of the political revolution just starting.
  7. About the slow-mo revolution by the Left.
  8. Triumph of the Left over the liberals who nurtured them.
  9. None of the Democratic candidates are moderates.

Two books explaining what happened

I have not found a good book explaining what happened to the Left, causing its hatred of America. These are the best I have found, looking at our politics.

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank.

The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted by Mike Lofgren.

"Listen, Liberal" by Thomas Frank
Available at Amazon.
"The Party is Over" by Mike Lofgren
Available at Amazon.


13 thoughts on “Is the Left marching to victory – or doom?”

  1. I think we see the interesting phenomenon that, while in the US, the electoral sweet spot would probably be around center-left economic policies combined with center-right cultural positions, Republicans combine right-wing economic policies with right-wing cultural positions, while establishment Democrats combine economic policies that are almost similarly right-wing with very left-wing cultural positions. If their goal was getting votes, this would hardly make sense.

    I think the explanation that makes most sense is that US politicians are not primarily interested in getting votes, but in getting money from donors – and rich donors, of course, have their economic interests. Certainly, people like Bernie Sanders can get many small donations, but elections to Congress captivate people less, and therefore, getting donor money is generally still very important.

    This also explains why this phenomenon that the two main parties are relatively close on economic matters, while there is a lot of polarization on cultural issues is much stronger in the US than elsewhere, e.g. in continental Europe (at least if we don’t see immigration as a purely cultural issue, which I think it isn’t). Money plays an important role in politics everywhere, but in other countries, it plays a less important role, and therefore, in other countries it is easier for politicians to what voters want to some degree.

    By the way, I don’t think that it is easy for Republicans to move left on economic issues. They are just as dependent on donors as Democrats. Trump had some elements of campaign rhetoric that suggested he wants to occupy that potentially promising spot of being right-wing on cultural issue and center-left on economic issues (infrastructure programs, he even suggested universal healthcare at one point), but he hardly acted on this, and de facto, the Trump administration has had fairly conventional Republican policies whose economical part is hardly in line with what a majority wants on economic issues.

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  3. From what I can see in Europe, and it seems to be a winning ticket, is right wing parties moving to a populist left position on the Economy but moving right on cultural issues. It is the right who are now defending the Social Democratic model, as is the left, but the right can also defend the prevailing cultural values, this manifests in a anti immigrant ethos, tough on crime, centralizing, authoritarian, nationalistic. Italy, Hungary, Greece, Poland, Britain (England), Ireland (a left but nationalistic and in favor of immigration control party is now the largest), Crezh republic, honorable mentions to Germany and France. The left is, rightly or wrongly seen as somewhat traitorous, globalist, pro immigrant, soft on crime, PC. Much of this movement in the electorate is under the radar due to the main stream medias left wing bias, until it bursts into view, Brexit, Trump, the league in Italy, Sein Fein in Ireland, AFD, ect.

    My guess is as globalism ebbs, the left will struggle to maintain its coalition, the right will drink its milkshake on the economy, and the left will splinter if it tries to move back to a nationalist position (plus nobody will believe them, see jeremy corbyn).

    Just think how well a competent nationalist who was a populist on the economy would do in America. A Donald Trump who could peel away working class democrats. Donald Trump does pretty well by just pretending, the real deal would devour the Democratic party.

    1. I’m sceptical. Sinn Fein afaik is pro immigration; they are closer to the SNP than any populist party with an anti-immigration stance.

      Also, the Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV) would probably be the closest party to what you describe, here in the Netherlands. In the recent provincial elections, they lost a ton of seats to Forum voor Democratie (FvD), your more ‘standard’ hard right party.

    1. Durasim,

      I’ll be writing about that soon. This is yet another American institution failing. Don’t look at each of these failing institutions in isolation. This is a problem sweeping across American, as institutions failing their core missions – and when that becomes evident, they cannot repair themselves. We need to understand the root cause.

      See my post about this: A new, dark picture of America’s future.

    2. I think that outside of Catholic and Mormon circles BSA is pretty much already irrelevant as a cultural institution, and the Mormons have already announced that they are leaving. I remember as a child that I would wear my Cub Scout uniform all day when my den or pack had their meetings; and I would see many other boys wearing theirs at school, the store and elsewhere. It seems that these days the only time I ever see Cub or Boy Scouts wearing their uniforms in public us when they have their popcorn fundraisers at the local supermarket.

      1. Frank,

        Yes, the Mormons have been big supporters of BSA (about 20%, less of the funding), and are leaving. The decision to admit girls to all units was an effort to replace – or more – that loss. I wrote two posts about that, with predictions on its effects.

        It is not correct to say Scouting is centered on churches, and very false to say Mormon and Catholic denominations. Protestant, service club, and school-based units far outnumber those.

        Scouting is still strong, although at a far smaller fraction of boys than at its early 1979s peak.

        The biggest factors are the shift to single parent families, who are seldom able to support a unit, and children to minority families in whose communities organizations like scouting are foreign.

      2. Still, the Mormon’s departure will affect BSA. If the Catholics leave it would be another blow and I have heard some talk of the Knights of Columbus creating a replacement for BSA. I know that some conservative Protestants have already bailed and formed their own parallel organizations, such as the Royal Rangers.

        Scouting exists in other countries, though it is often less common. When I lived in Mexico I had friends who were Mexican Scouts, but they were pretty rare.

        There are also competing activities now, such as youth sports. I also suspect the fact that mom has to work means she doesn’t have time to be a Den Mother, nor help in a supporting role. I remember as a kid that our Den would go on field trips (one that stands out in my mind was a visit to a factory that made rubber basketballs) and some moms would come and help out. Most of those moms would be busy at work today. What I did notice when he was a Cub was that the Den was mostly upper middle class and there were some SAHMs.

        Plus, from what my son told me, being a Scout isn’t considered cool. He did Cub Scouts for a while, but when it was time to trade the blue uniform for khaki, he said he didn’t want to do that. He wound up playing competitive youth soccer instead.

      3. Frank,

        “What I did notice when he was a Cub was that the Den was mostly upper middle class “

        It depends on location, as their is big regional variation. I ran a trip for 7 years, them was a Council VP and Director. For us it was a middle class thing, with big participation in both blue collar and upper middle classes.

        Spirts is cooler than Scouting, which is natural for a nation where people line up like sheep, shoes in hand, to board airlines.

        People trained to be independent, to be both active followers and leaders, who know how to survive under many conditions, are not cool.

        Acting like soldiers under constant direction, as in most youth sports teams, following rigid rules, is more modern American.

        The other big advantage if sports is that it keeps the kids under rigid control without much parental involvement. Scouting requires massive parental involvement – unsuited of a nation of single parents, parents near the cliff, and career-focused parents.

  4. ” Does this foreshadow the long-awaited counter-revolution against the ascendant left as the silent majority awakens? Or does it show the left has taken roots in other conservative communities.”

    At this point it is a close call. Both currents are presently bubbling. I despise what has become the identity politics left but am highly sympathetic to the necessity of profound structural change in our contemporary deep state structure of power.

    My guess is that it will take dramatic reconfiguration of political vision along with the confidence and courage to describe and stand up to the current waves of cultural contempt–there still seem to be so many pleasant peasants!

  5. The Man Who Laughs

    The Left is absolutely unelectable. And the Titanic was unsinkable. There’s the stuff that can’t happen, and the stuff you can’t imagine. Don’t ever confuse the two.

    I think it’s easy to look at a geriatric Bolshevik like Sanders, or a transparent phony like Warren, and underestimate the danger in what’s behind them. You can fund them and support them thinking that, at some level, you’re still going to be in control if they win. It’s a bit like the mad scientist thinking that he’s always going to be in control of that thing he’s making in his lab. To quote the lyrics from The Future Soon by Jonathan Coulton

    ‘ll probably be some kind of scientist
    Building inventions in my space lab in space
    I’ll end world hunger I’ll make dolphins speak
    Work through the daytime, spend my nights and weekends
    Perfecting my warrior robot race
    Building them one laser gun at a time
    I will do my best to teach them
    About life and what it’s worth
    I just hope that I can keep them from destroying the Earth”

    They can win. They really, really can. And if they do, they’ve got Big Plans, and those don’t necessarily include taking care of the economic agenda of the one percent. By now I’ve made enough wrong predictions about the current electoral cycle to not put myself on the record here. Some other time, when I don’t have to be off to work, maybe I’ll admit to what some of those were. So no predictions about how it comes out. But yes, those little brown people really can drag heavy guns and ammunition up the hills around Dien Bien Phu, and you won’t like what happens next.

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