The United States has become more ethnically and socially diverse. The Republicans have failed to adapt and have been punished at the voting box. The party has appeared ever more stubborn in its continuing war on social issues such as abortion, gay rights and immigration – this despite securing lower and lower proportions of the vote from ‘minority’ groups over the past few decades. It is precisely these issues which are increasingly alienating voters – the electorate consider the party too socially conservative, rather than just focusing on fiscal conservatism.
As Howard Fineman of the Huffington Post writes, “the results made an extraordinary statement about commitment to change: in health care (Obamacare), in taxes (a push to raise rates on the wealthy), on environmental action and for activist government.” So with left wing policies increasingly in demand, and the Republican party possibly unelectable if they do not change their stance on, at the very least, social conservatism, could this mark the end of ultra right wing politics in the US? Will we see a more centrist Republican party in 4 years?
Back here in the UK, we are also left to consider whether the Conservatives are still a genuine political force. Despite widespread resentment of Labour, the Conservatives could still not secure a majority at the last election. In fact, the Tories have not won a general election for over 20 years and have seen their share of the vote fall steadily since the 1930s. Many commentators are beginning to wonder whether the Tories are too out of touch with modern Britain and are therefore now unelectable. A political force? Perhaps not. A political farce? Unquestionably!
On the mainland, the defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy, a senior representative of Europe’s right, has boosted the confidence of Europe’s left. We are now witnessing hostile resistance to the austerity policies of right wing governments which are slowly being ousted with each passing election.
So is this the end of right wing politics as we know it? Across the world, citizens are becoming increasingly aware that the right wing’s misguided belief in a deregulated free market does not act in their interest – and it is decades of financial deregulation which in fact caused the crisis that they are now being forced to pay for. The graph also comprehensively shows the world’s negative attitude towards America’s right. An opening has therefore emerged and it remains to be seen whether the left can take advantage and successfully move away from the centred ground.
If the debate can shift away from traditional right verses left sticking points then perhaps we can start to build a new, and better form of politics. One where we begin to examine the system itself and debate how it can better serve the needs of the populace – rather than the needs of corporations and the ruling elite.