Val 2016 | USA:s väljare har vänt sig alltmer åt vänster enligt Peter Beinart som är contributing editor på tidskriften The Atlantic.
Enligt hans tes kommer nästa president – oavsett om det blir en demokrat eller republikan – att fortsätta förvalta det liberala arvet efter Barack Obama.
Om det blir t.ex. Hillary Clinton kommer hon att bygga vidare på de liberala strömningar som redan finns i landet.
Och vinner Donald Trump kommer han inte att kunna ta landet tillbaka till konservatismen under George W. Bush oavsett hans retorik idag. Obama har helt enkelt förändrat USA för mycket. De viktigaste målgrupperna har alla gått i mer liberal riktning.
I came of age in the ’80s and ’90s, when the backlash against ’60s liberalism still struck terror into Democratic hearts. I watched as Ronald Reagan moved the country hard to the right, and as Bill Clinton made his peace with this new political reality by assuring white America that his party would fight crime mercilessly. Seeing this year’s Democratic candidates crumple before Black Lives Matter and shed Clinton’s ideological caution as they stampeded to the left, I imagined the country must be preparing for a vast conservative reaction.
But I was wrong. The more I examined the evidence, the more I realized that the current moment looks like a mirror image of the late ’60s and early ’70s. The resemblances are clear, but their political significance has been turned upside down. There is a backlash against the liberalism of the Obama era. But it is louder than it is strong. Instead of turning right, the country as a whole is still moving to the left.
That doesn’t mean the Republicans won’t retain strength in the nation’s statehouses and in Congress. It doesn’t mean a Republican won’t sooner or later claim the White House. It means that on domestic policy—foreign policy is following a different trajectory, as it often does—the terms of the national debate will continue tilting to the left. The next Democratic president will be more liberal than Barack Obama. The next Republican president will be more liberal than George W. Bush.
In the late ’60s and ’70s, amid left-wing militancy and racial strife, a liberal era ended. Today, amid left-wing militancy and racial strife, a liberal era is only just beginning.
It means the next Republican president won’t be able to return the nation to the pre-Obama era.
That’s what happened when Dwight Eisenhower followed Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Ike moderated the growth in government expansion that had begun in the 1930s, but he didn’t return American politics to the 1920s, when the GOP opposed any federal welfare state at all. He in essence ratified the New Deal. It’s also what happened when Bill Clinton followed Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. By passing punitive anticrime laws, repealing restrictions on banks, signing NAFTA, cutting government spending to balance the budget, reforming welfare, and declaring that the “era of big government is over,” Clinton acknowledged that even a Democratic president could not revive the full-throated liberalism of the 1960s and ’70s. He ratified Reaganism.
Barack Obama sought the presidency hoping to be the Democrats’ Reagan: a president who changed America’s ideological trajectory. And he has changed it. He has pushed the political agenda as dramatically to the left as Reagan pushed it to the right, and, as under Reagan, the public has acquiesced more than it has rebelled. Reagan’s final victory came when Democrats adapted to the new political world he had made, and there is reason to believe that the next Republican president will find it necessary to make similar concessions to political reality.
This political cycle, too, will ultimately run its course. A sustained rise in crime could breed fissures between African American activists and young whites or even Latinos. Slower economic growth and a rising budget deficit could turn the public against government in a way that Obama’s policies have not—and force Democrats to again emphasize the creation of wealth more than its distribution. How this era of liberal dominance will end is anyone’s guess. But it will likely endure for some time to come.
Tidskriftsomslag: The Atlantic, januari/februari 2016.