A Reason for Alarm

Cross posted at The Word Smiths

While it remains to be seen how any of this will affect U.S. foreign relations, over the past couple of years, I have noticed an alarming trend in worldwide elections:  the right is on the rise.

The biggest story on the world stage this weekend was the French presidential elections on Sunday, with the right-leaning candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy, defeating the Socialist candidate, Ségolène Royal.  However, those weren't the only elections this past week.

In Great Britain, local mid-term elections were held on Thursday, with the Conservative party the big winner over the current majority Labour party, and of even greater note, the Scottish National Party winning a majority in the young Scottish Parliament for the first time, unseating the Labour party.  

In 2005, despite not winning a majority in German federal elections, Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Party came to lead a coalition bringing Gerhard Schroder's Social Democratic Party's rule to an end, and relegating them to a supporting member of the governing coalition.

In 2006, despite, once again, no majority, Stephen Harper's Conservative party unseated a scandal-plagued Liberal Party in Canadian federal elections.

And later in 2006, Mexico elected Felipe Calderón Hinojosa from the National Action Party over the leftist candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the Party of Democratic Revolution.

The UK, France, Germany, and our neighbors to both the north and the south.  This isn't just a coincidence.  The right is on the rise.

Tags: Angela Merkel, Canada, Felipe Calderon, France, french elections, Germany, Mexico, Nicolas Sarkozy, Segolene Royal, stephen harper, uk (all tags)



Re: A Reason for Alarm

Ummm, no.

1) Sarkosy is to the left of most Democrats, ergo conflating him with some global right-wing movement is unwarranted.  Come on, he's from the same party as outgoing President Chirac, whom the GOP detested.

2) In the UK, the elections were a reaction againt Blair and his Bush-lapdog role, not Labour itself.  Alot of protest-voting there, particularly Scotland.  Look up the BBC or any other UK media and they'll say much the same.

3) In Germany, where yes they have a "grand coalition" you neglect the fact that half the Cabinet is SPD, and Merkel isn't exactly rocking the boat with new Thatcherite policies.  And, as with Sarkosy, she's to the left of your average Dem.

4) In Canada, the issue re: the Liberal party was a scandal, not a failure of governance.  For that matter, the conservatives there are running a minority government.  Not exactly a momentous conservative tide.

5) Mexico.  Yep, that was a squeaker, and Obrador lost whatever grace might have been had in deafeat with his Cindy Sheehan style post-electoral raving/rallies.  Even so, provide concrete examples of how this is connected to some global rise.

You leave out Italy, Spain, the rest of Europe, most of South America which have elected largely left/liberal governments.

You're trying to draw connections but provide no substantiation, and no analysis.  

Don't take this harshly, I'm trying to be constructive here.


by NicholasWalter 2007-05-07 12:10PM | 0 recs
Re: A Reason for Alarm

You make some very valid points Chris. Instead of a shift to the right, three of those elections suggest parties that were card-carrying members of the ITL (In Too Long)Club.

by spirowasright 2007-05-07 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: A Reason for Alarm

Why would anyone said that the Socialists lost?  Their program of craddle to grave security is hurting the French economy.  France needs market based reforms or it will continue to fall behind countries in Europe and across the world.

by ditka 2007-05-07 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: A Reason for Alarm
Since when are the SNP on the Right?  The Right in Scotland is incredibly weak, mostly winning constituencies only in the far south and like on around Glasgow.  SNP is a nationalist party, but it is further to the left than Labour.  Labour is the party that has been heading to the right on economics and social issues, too.  What's that crap they spew about anti-social behaviour?  Not very liberal of them.
As well, the Liberal party in Canada isn't that left a party.  The Socialists in Europe are largely moderate social democrats and democratic socialists, who think markets are better at creating wealth than planning.
Te Mexican election is more to the point, but the trend in Latin American is clearly against the Right.  Social-aligned groups are on the rise.  In the Middle East, religious fundamentalists, who at least care about economic exploitation and poverty, are in power in some countries.  What is going on is not a left-right struggle, but a struggle for the survival of liberalism.
On the left, you have socialists and populists and some religious fundamentalists tearing at economic liberalism, and on the right you have conservatives and religious fundamentalists attacking cultural liberalism, with all going after liberalisms model of society and the individual.  Not to mention the Greens.
by jallen 2007-05-07 02:39PM | 0 recs


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