April 17, 2017
A Divided Western World?
● Are we in the midst of a realignment?
● Party Formation (late 19th/early 20th c): class conflict
○ Parties went mainstream when everyone got the right to vote.
○ Parties with broad political ideologies, philosophy, conflict, etc.
○ Socioeconomic Divide between the workers (___) and the capitalists (____).
● Class Cleavages Weaken from 1960s Onward
○ Labor laws, minimum wages, entering the middle class.
○ New middle class: not so easily divided between workers and capitalists.
○ Rise of cultural issues (women’s rights, immigration, etc.
● Rise of New Niche Parties
○ They focus on the small issues.
○ Part of the reason they were so angry about immigration is because they felt it was taking
jobs away from the native working class.
■ Right wing parties called for left wing policies to protect these groups.
■ No clean cut between the two wings.
○ Green Party
■ Regulations to protect the environment.
■ Preserving the environment doesn't have anything to do with class cleavage.
■ There are more right winged protectionists lately.
● Being part of one wing does not mean that you are strictly that wing; there is a lot of overlap
between the left and right parties.
● New Axis of Political Conflict?
● No settled name yet for this phenomenon because we have not answered that question.
○ Wants globalization, cultural mixing, international political cooperation, pro-
○ Strengthening the EU
○ Want to preserve national traditions.
○ Reduce immigration, international cooperation, etc.
○ Europe: We have parties that want to leave the EU, don’t want to take refugees, etc.
○ They want to restrict international trade in a way that will benefit domestic economy.
● A lot of these sides were prevalent during the US Presidential Elections
● French Presidential Election:
○ The strongest candidates are neither left or right; very mixed.
○ Marine Le Pen: far right populist woman; she has more moderate voters though because
she was not as right winged as her father; has a populist perspective for the people.
○ Jean-Luc Melenchon: he is far left; has been gaining traction with his populist ideas;
pushing for stronger connections with the people and national traditions; one of his policies is that he wants to have a 100% tax rate on anyone earning more than $400,000
○ Emmanuel Macron: he is not a conventional candidate because he is independent in the
center; supportive of progressive issues; supports revolution.
○ They all want to speak for the little people.
○ Francois Fillon: he had scandals about fake jobs for his wife; was in support but went
down because of the scandals.
○ There are people going for new positions other than just old fashioned left and old
● Winners v. Losers
○ The first side are those who have benefitted, and the others have not.
○ There are some winning in the new economy, but some not anymore because factories
■ Highly educated knowledge workers rather than the trade workers (right wing).
■ Creative industry such as entertainment; left wing voters that benefit from this
■ They both have an interest in this open technology globalized world.
■ They aren’t limited by their nation state.
■ Winners from both parties.
■ Working class and lower middle class.
■ Many people’s jobs have disappeared because of technology.
■ Weakening nation state means that working in public sector jobs have gotten a
● Especially true in Europe when their economy used to be nationalized
but not anymore because of the weakening nation state.
● Used to be solid left wing union voters, but the private sector jobs have