Found 1 comment on HN
qrendel · 2016-05-24 · Original thread
The realignments in the US are complicated, but the movement to the right goes way beyond just reaction to globalization and technology. At least three things have happened (imo): 1) both the public and the government have become far more politically polarized, 2) the net change from polarization has still been to the right, and 3) the government has become more openly authoritarian.

It's Even Worse Than It Looks by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein[1][2] makes a really good case for (1) and (2). That has been going on for around 50 years now, since the (end of) Carter and (start of) Reagan administrations. The Democrats lost a 40-year streak of Congressional control to the Republicans in 1992, eventually evolving into the far-right obstructionist Congressional Republicans of today. In the meantime even the liberal Democrat presidents became more conservative on their overall policies (excepting a few social issues like LGBTQ issues) - Obama's healthcare reforms being similar to conservative proposals from the 1980's and Clinton famously saying that the "era of big government is over."

For (3) you have the new executive powers to wage war without Congressional approval (e.g. the AUMF under Bush and Libyan intervention under Obama), bipartisan expansion of warrantless surveillance by both parties (wiretapping under Bush and Snowden revelations under Obama), extrajudicial assassination programs, etc etc. Under the typical US understanding of the terms, this would all certainly be considered "right wing." For the public's part, you see way more widespread support and acceptance for the policies than you did during e.g. Vietnam or even WW2 (opposition to entering the war and the Lend-Lease program, etc).

There has been some occasional reversal towards the center, with e.g. Sanders, Obamacare, Occupy Wall Street, some other examples, but overall the US has been going net right since at least Jimmy Carter. I'd say the opposition to free trade, unless it really steamrolls into something bigger, is currently just another short-term reversal to the center, set against a continual bull market for the political right.



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