Despite Biden's early success, the center-left in the United States is not out of woods yet, much less the global center-left, which continues to struggle mightily. In my new piece on The Liberal Patriot with Brian Katulis, we locate the origins of center-left crisis in the 1990's turn toward the Third Way and the failure to transcend that philosophy in the new century. We describe the contours of that challenge and recommend an alternative.
"President Joe Biden and top officials in his administration are touting the benefits of their first major accomplishment: the latest coronavirus relief package. But depending how the administration takes on contentious issues such as immigration, climate change, and infrastructure, the American Rescue Plan Act could end up being Biden’s one and only achievement because of the country’s deep political divisions and dysfunction.
Though Biden won in 2020 by more than 7 million votes, the margins in Congress are razor thin and down ballot results reinforced the gridlock that has plagued the nation for nearly a decade. Dig deeper into America’s political landscape, and you’ll see a dynamic that part of a broader global phenomenon: the cratering of support for mainstream center-left parties over the past decade, particularly in Europe. There are exceptions, like New Zealand’s Labour Party, led by Jacinda Ardern, but the overall pattern is quite striking.
Case in point: look at the results from yesterday’s national elections in the Netherlands. The traditional parties of the left continued to lose ground—the Green Left, the Socialist Party and the historically important social democratic Party of Labour. The latter is but a shadow of its former self, barely clearing 5 percent of the vote and only a nose ahead of the Party for the Animals, which is just what it says it is. The big winner was the social-liberal party D66, which favors the environmental and cultural concerns of urbanized professionals, but even there D66’s seat total is no better than the seat total held by the right wing populist parties Party for Freedom (PVV) and Forum for Democracy and lags far behind the traditional conservative party, Mark Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD)."
Read the rest at The Liberal Patriot. And subscribe!