Zmaga konzervativnih populistov je krivda elitistične liberalne sredine

Dva odlična komentarja zmagovalnega pohoda populizma in nacionalizma v najbolj odprtih državah.

Wolfgang Münchau argues that the key in the fight against the anti-establishment insurrection lies with the parties of the centre-left. If they continue to play the role of junior partner in centre-right coalitions, and to embrace austerity and financial deregulation, liberal democracy will lose the battle against autocratic populism – as it did in the 1930s. Münchau goes through the long list of failings of the centre-left in Germany (support for a balanced budget amend), in Italy (support for austerity), in France (support for austerity without reforms), and wonders:

“What led the centre-left on to such a self-destructive path? The answer is a combination of the following: a false belief that elections are won from the centre; the lure of ministerial limousines; an inferiority complex about not being able to run ‘responsible fiscal policies’; and a belief that voters of the left have nowhere else to go.”

He says the first – symbolic – thing the centre-left needs to do is to distance itself from the new breed of trade agreement that protect foreign investors against domestic law courts. The second will be to return to their Keynesian roots: more investment spending and lower taxes, possibly as a trade off for a moderate tightening in monetary policies.

Vir: Eurointelligence

What we need to focus on now is the obvious question: what the hell went wrong? What species of cluelessness guided our Democratic leaders as they went about losing what they told us was the most important election of our lifetimes?

Start at the top. Why, oh why, did it have to be Hillary Clinton? Yes, she has an impressive resume; yes, she worked hard on the campaign trail. But she was exactly the wrong candidate for this angry, populist moment. An insider when the country was screaming for an outsider. A technocrat who offered fine-tuning when the country wanted to take a sledgehammer to the machine.

She was the Democratic candidate because it was her turn and because a Clinton victory would have moved every Democrat in Washington up a notch. Whether or not she would win was always a secondary matter, something that was taken for granted. Had winning been the party’s number one concern, several more suitable candidates were ready to go. There was Joe Biden, with his powerful plainspoken style, and there was Bernie Sanders, an inspiring and largely scandal-free figure. Each of them would probably have beaten Trump, but neither of them would really have served the interests of the party insiders.

And so Democratic leaders made Hillary their candidate even though they knew about her closeness to the banks, her fondness for war, and her unique vulnerability on the trade issue – each of which Trump exploited to the fullest. They chose Hillary even though they knew about her private email server. They chose her even though some of those who studied the Clinton Foundation suspected it was a sketchy proposition.

The even larger problem is that there is a kind of chronic complacency that has been rotting American liberalism for years, a hubris that tells Democrats they need do nothing different, they need deliver nothing really to anyone – except their friends on the Google jet and those nice people at Goldman. The rest of us are treated as though we have nowhere else to go and no role to play except to vote enthusiastically on the grounds that these Democrats are the “last thing standing” between us and the end of the world. It is a liberalism of the rich, it has failed the middle class, and now it has failed on its own terms of electability. Enough with these comfortable Democrats and their cozy Washington system. Enough with Clintonism and its prideful air of professional-class virtue. Enough!

Vir: Thomas Frank, The Guardian

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