Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Sunday, October 04, 2009

So Much For the Decline of the Left

So with a series of elections among the wealthy countries of the world since the 2008 crash, there have been some high profile defeats for the traditional center-left parties. The center-left got beaten badly by the center right in the EP elections earlier this year. Then there have been some bi-election embarrassments for the British Labor Party that have many pundits all but writing that party's reelection chances off completely. Then the German Social Democrats were crushed in the elections there at the same time that the pro-market FDP surged to their best electoral result ever. One could be forgiven for thinking there is something seriously wrong with the center-left - or at least something has gone wrong with their relationship with voters. But two elections in wealthy countries are bucking this trend. In Japan, the center-left managed to unify and form the first single party government other than the LDP in Japan's post WWII history. And today, PASOK won the elections in Greece.

So what does this all mean? Probably not much in the way of consistent partisan shifts in among wealthy democracies. Rather this is probably all just a "throw the bums out" phenomenon. Especially in countries where the 2008 financial collapse has cause serious problems, voters are just reacting against what they perceive as the incumbent governing parties' responsibility for the economy. One thing I think is safe to say from this, any declines in the electoral fortunes of any center-left parties around the world are likely due to the idiosyncrasies of local politics (especially when the center-left are the incumbents going into the election) rather than any world wide reaction against the welfare state or taxes in the face of the recession.


Raised By Republicans said...

By the way, in the context of the US, I think this suggests that there is a serious danger for the Democrats in over reaching. We're seeing that with the health care thing. The landslide victories in 2006 and 2008 have not resulted from a significant shift to the left by the electorate but rather the middle staying where it is ideologically but switching parties.

This has resulted in a lot of frustration and anger in the left wing of the party.

The Law Talking Guy said...

There's always a tension between reading electoral results as an endorsement of the winning party or merely a curse on the losing party. In the US context, I think the reading of an endorsement of Barack Obama is pretty clear. For Congress, however, the best reading is almost always one of anti-incumbency - a 'no' vote rather than a 'yes' vote.