Posted by Curt on 9 December, 2016 at 10:28 am. 2 comments already!


Michael Barone:

It’s been a tough decade for the political Left. Eight years ago, a Time magazine cover portrayed Barack Obama as Franklin Roosevelt, complete with a cigarette and holder and a cover line proclaiming, “The New New Deal.” ANewsweek cover announced, “We Are All Socialists Now.”

Now the cover story is different. Time has just announced — inevitably, though a bit begrudgingly — that its person of the year for 2016 is Donald Trump. No mention of New Deals or socialism.

It’s not surprising that newsmagazine editors expected a move to the left. The history they’d been taught by New Deal admirers, influenced by the doctrines of Karl Marx, was that economic distress moves voters to demand a larger and more active government.

There was some empirical evidence in that direction, as well. The recession triggered by the financial crisis of 2007-08 was the deepest experienced by anyone not old enough to remember the 1930s. Obama was elected with 53 percent of the popular vote — more than any candidate since the 1980s — and Democrats won congressional elections with similar majorities, just as they had in 2006.

Things look different now, and not just because Trump was elected president. It has been clear that most voters have been rejecting big-government policies, not only in the United States but also in most democratic nations around the world.

Leftist politicians supposed that ordinary voters with modest incomes facing hard times would believe that regulation and redistribution would help them. Evidently, most don’t.

The rejection was apparent in the 2010 and subsequent House elections; Republicans have now won House majorities in 10 of the past 12 elections, leaving 2006 and 2008 as temporary aberrations. You didn’t hear Hillary Clinton campaigning on the glories of Obamacare or the Iranian nuclear deal, and her attack on “trumped-up trickle-down” economics didn’t strike any chords in the modest-income Midwest.

Republican success has been even greater in gubernatorial and state-legislature elections, to the point that Democrats hold both the governorship and legislative control only in California, Hawaii, Delaware, and Rhode Island. After eight years of the Obama presidency, Democrats hold fewer elective offices than at any time since the 1920s.

Things look similar abroad. Britain’s Conservatives, returned to power in 2010, are in a commanding position over a left-lurching Labour party. France’s Socialist president, with single-digit approval, declined to run for a second term. European social democratic parties have been hemorrhaging votes and got walloped in Sunday’s Italian referendum. In Latin America and Asia, the Left is declining or on the defensive.

Overall, history is not bending toward happy acceptance of ever-larger government at home, nor is it moving toward submersion of national powers and identities into large and inherently undemocratic international organizations.

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