Other (abstracted) Views

Excerpts from: The Ominous Decline of Social Democracy – The Washington Post

September 26, 2018

Every once in a while there is a news article or an opinion piece that seems to really strike a chord.  I think that this is one of them.  I have a few excerpts below.  After you read them I hope that you are interested enough to read the full article.  It is a concise description of the situation that we are facing today.  We have looked at various aspects in previous blog pieces – this is a great summary.  If you really are concerned about our democracy , as I am, take the time to read it.

Excerpts from: The Ominous Decline of Social Democracy – The Washington Post

The rise of Donald Trump was shocking, but it was not a one-off. The forces that brought him to power have parallels across democracies as fears about immigration, inward-looking nationalism and discontent over economic globalization push an ever-larger share of voters to the far right.

For American progressives, it is especially disturbing that social democracy is losing ground almost everywhere.

Social democracy has been conducive to free societies because it is principled about its goals but pragmatic about how to reach them. Social democrats are committed to greater economic equality and to empowering the marginalized. But they accept market systems as long as they are properly regulated in the public interest.

The United States has never had a dominant social-democratic party, but the New Deal introduced a “social democratic tinge” to our politics.

Because social democrats have been so important to undergirding democracy itself, all Americans have reason to worry about the weakening of the movement across Europe. In the Swedish case, as in so many others, anti-immigrant sentiment was the primary driver of votes to the far right. Sweden has been exceptionally generous in accepting refugees, and the once-homogeneous country’s population was 18.5 percent foreign-born in 2017 (compared with 13.7 percent in the United States).  “Welfare nationalists” often blame foreigners for diluting their social services, when the reductions are typically the result of austerity or privatization policies pursued by the moderate right — responding, it should be said, to impatience with old welfare-state structures among more conservative middle-class voters.  And the loss of factory work results in an electoral double whammy, reducing the social base for labor-oriented center-left parties while also breeding resentments among those who once held these jobs. Many of them have moved to the far right in Europe and, in the United States, to Trump.

Hostility to Trump may well be enough for Democrats in 2018. But like center-left parties elsewhere, they must grapple over the longer run with forces driving former friends of the post-World War II social settlement into the arms of right-wing nationalists.

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