In recent years, American society has seen an increasingly obvious tendency to turn left. The midterm elections in the US Congress in 2018 are a striking example. In this election, not only did the Democratic Party regain the majority of the House of Representatives by virtue of the so-called “blue wave” (blue is the representative color of the Democratic Party), and the younger generation and women who stand on their left are the strong new forces within the Democratic Party.
The name is often abbreviated as “AOC” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the representative of the “blue wave”. She was just 29 years old when she was elected to the House of Representatives. She is the youngest female in the history of the United States. Member of Parliament. She served as a campaign assistant for the candidate, Bernie Sanders, in the Democratic primary in the 2016 presidential election. His main political views include the abolition of the Federal Customs and Immigration Enforcement Agency (ICE) and the establishment of federal-level employment security. The mechanism promotes universal health insurance covering all ages and has a distinctive left-leaning democratic socialism.
For the first time in this election, two Muslim women’s Democratic congressmen were elected, from Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. The former entered the United States in 1992 and became naturalized in 2000. Somali refugees, the latter were born in a Palestinian immigrant family, both of whom are fierce opponents of Trump. Their election not only reflects the breakthrough of ethnic minorities in American politics, but also the direct hardship of Trump’s white supremacism and hatred of Muslims in American society.
The current left-turning tendency of American society is a continuation of the 2016 presidential election. In that general election, Trump, who made the campaign slogan “Let America be great again”, rose into the White House. Trump’s political line opposes globalization on the one hand, promotes economic nationalism and trade protectionism on the one hand, and massively cuts taxes on the wealthy class on the other hand, drastically reducing social welfare, and intensifying the polarization between the rich and the poor. In the social sphere, Trump opposes the “politically correct” identity politics, advocates the “white supremacism” identity politics, treats vulnerable minority groups as scapegoats, incites anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-immigration The wave of hatred.
In the course of the 2016 presidential campaign, a number of polls showed that if Sanders, who advocated “democratic socialism,” as a Democratic candidate and Trump launched a final confrontation, the former would win. Sanders is also economically opposed to globalization, but his goal is to limit the influence of big capital through democratic politics, achieve broad social equality, and maintain the limitations of “political correctness” while maintaining the politics of pluralistic identity. The basic principle. If Trump makes the far-right populism in the long-term marginalization of American society full of blood, Sanders ignited the long-lost left-wing populism. In the context of the traditional political elite, the fierce confrontation between the two populists will be the main axis of the US political ecology for a considerable period of time in the future.
In fact, in the 2016 presidential election, Sanders has been crowded out and suppressed by the Democratic Party. The reason is that there is a line of disagreement between the “democratic socialism” represented by Sanders and the traditional Democratic liberals represented by Hillary.
Since the 1970s, the Democratic Party’s liberal political program has focused on the field of pluralist identity politics. The affirmative movements of ethnic minorities, women, and homosexual groups have been the focus of the campaign, aiming to win the middle class and minority of higher education. The support of voters such as ethnicity and women not only ignores class issues, but also actively supports globalization, and as a result, gradually loses the support of the blue-collar workers who are traditional votes of the Democratic Party. In the context of the globalization of US capitalism, the decline of traditional communities, and the intensification of the rich and the poor, the working class naturally becomes a supporter of economic nationalism and trade protectionism, and the white group in this class is easier. The charm of identity politics that emphasizes white subjectivity, advocated by far-right populism.
In the 2016 presidential election, the sly Democratic liberals failed to turn the pulse of the quasi-era. Although Hillary’s universal vote has more than 3 million votes, in the electoral system of the US presidential election, she was defeated because she lost the blue-collar workers’ class votes in the “swinging state” such as Wisconsin. The poll showed that many of the blue-collar workers’ votes left for Trump were actually intended for Sanders.
From the perspective of the electoral strategy, Trump’s political line is to follow Nixon’s example. By mobilizing the so-called “silent majority”, Nixon made the Republican Party a complex mixture, a party of the rich, and a middle-lower white who refused to reject the social values caused by the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Party. On the one hand, Trump maintains the interests of the wealthy class through tax cuts, and on the other hand, it obtains the hardcore votes of middle and lower whites through far-right populism. It is precisely because he uses the populism to intimidate the Republican Party, while fully satisfying their actual interests, the Republican Party is almost obedient. After the death of the last maverick Republican Senator John McCain, the Republican Party has become Trump’s party.
However, Nixon has generally maintained a respectful attitude towards the spirit and achievements of the civil rights movement. Trump publicly advocates white supremacism and hatred against minorities; Nixon generally maintains the existing welfare system, Trump It cuts welfare spending sharply and regards the abolition of the Obamacare reform bill as a priority; Nixon values environmental protection and establishes the US National Environmental Protection Agency. Trump denies global warming, relaxes and even abolishes environmental regulation; although Nixon abuses presidential power, In the end, the “Watergate Incident” resigned, but his destruction of constitutional rules and judicial justice has not reached a blatant degree. Trump is unscrupulous, doing whatever he wants, taking the example of an authoritarian state and subverting American political principles.
Dissatisfaction with the Trump regime blew the assembly of the American leftist politics. In the field of identity politics, the left promotes the equal rights of ethnic minorities, women, and the LGBT community. The “Me Too” movement in full swing is a major battlefield. This campaign with the purpose of “regressive sexual harassment” was not particularly political at first. The “obscenity” exposed was not limited to Republicans, but because of the conservative Christians who were traditional Republican votes, they always had sex. Invasion of sexual harassment takes a cover-up attitude—one example is that the Republican-controlled Senate refused to conduct a full investigation and rushed to appoint Brett Kavanaugh as the Supreme Court Justice, who was accused of multiple sexual assaults in the 1980s—“Me The Too movement thus has the political function of mobilizing women to actively participate in politics as Democrats.
In the field of class politics, the long-term “socialism” that is taboo in the United States is no longer a derogatory term.
Many political programs proposed by Sanders during the 2016 election campaign, such as universal health insurance and a minimum wage of $15 an hour, have been regarded by mainstream opinion as a radical concept that Americans can never accept, but now they are supported by most Americans. . According to data from the Data For Progress website in July 2019, many economic ideas of the American left have been supported by most Americans.
However, the degree of left-turning of the US political ecology lags far behind the degree of left-turning of American society as measured by the proportion of the total population. On the eve of the mid-term elections of 2018, the British “Economist” magazine pointed out that even if the total votes of all Democrats’ candidates are 5% of the total votes of all Republican candidates, the Democrats may still lose the House of Representatives. As a result, the Democratic Party won the election with a total vote of 8.6%. In other words, the Democratic Party can only get more than half of the seats in the House of Representatives if it has a large lead.
Many commentators blame this unfair phenomenon on “Gerrymander”, a term that refers to the election results by unfairly dividing the electoral district. The origins come from the 19th century Massachusetts Governor Gehry. (Gerry) divides the state constituency, causing a map of a constituency to be like a salamander. Both parties in the United States have a history of “Jerry,” but the Republican Party is more comfortable with it. It has been used more frequently since 2010, making it a key weapon in the election campaign.
American political scientist Jonathan A. Rodden pointed out in the book Why Cities Lose that even if there is no “Jerry”, the Democratic Party will still be in the election for a long time. The symmetry of the disadvantage is due to the combination of the “winner-take-all” electoral system and the geographical factors of the population.
Different from the proportional representation system for obtaining seats according to the proportion of votes obtained, “winners take all the way” means that the contestants who get 51% of the votes in one constituency can get all the seats, while the other party who gets the votes of 49% has no seats. .
The problem is that since the 1970s, Democratic supporters have disproportionately concentrated in densely populated cities. Under the “winner-take-all” electoral system, this means that many votes of the Democratic Party are wasted in the victory of urban constituencies, and the Republicans only need to obtain a weak lead in the same number of rural constituencies, which can offset the Democratic Party in the city. An overwhelming victory in the constituency. As mentioned earlier, The Economist had predicted that the Democratic Party would lose the House elections even if the total number of votes in the 2018 midterm elections was 5%. In fact, this phenomenon also exists in the legislative bodies at the state level. In the 2018 Pennsylvania House of Representatives election, the Democrats won 55% of the total votes, but only 46% of the seats; in Wisconsin, the Democratic Party won 53% of the total votes, but only 36% of seats.
Since Roosevelt’s “New Deal” in the 1930s, the Democratic Party has maintained high support among urban voters, but its sharp position in the city has been the only situation that has emerged in the last 30 years. The reason behind this is the growing political polarization in the United States.
More than 30 years ago, there were many Republicans in the United States who were farther than the Democratic Party and Democrats who were more right than the Republican Party. Their party loyalty and ideological positions were separate, and the relationship with political parties was mainly involved in the affairs of the time. However, in the past 30 years, both parties in the United States have been ideological. The right side of the ideological spectrum belongs to the Republican Party, and the left side belongs to the Democratic Party. There are almost no exceptions. In this context, the supporters of the Democratic Party are increasingly disproportionately concentrated in densely populated cities, and the urban population after Gai’s industrial revolution naturally left.
The main body of urban residents is mainly immigrants entering the city and their descendants. On the one hand, the experience of leaving home and the spirit of adventurous make immigrants more inclined to open and inclusive attitude towards unfamiliar culture and people, support pluralistic identity politics; on the other hand, stay away from traditional relatives and religious institutions. In the disaster year, immigrants have more demands for government-led social welfare programs, and more inclined to support the left’s economic and social policies.
Of course, the composition of American urban residents is not fixed. In the era of manufacturing boom, white-collar workers were once the mainstay of urban dwellers. With the decline of the manufacturing industry, a large number of white blue-collar workers moved to the “suburbs”, many of them gradually moved away from the Democratic Party, but ethnic minorities and immigrants flooded into the city and became the new ballots of the Democratic Party. The city has always maintained its loyalty to the Democratic Party. In contrast, the Republican Party has always had an advantage in rural areas.
If a map of the United States is drawn according to the party’s tendency, then most of the map is inlaid with a mosaic of blue patches in red background, red and blue represent the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.
This unfavorable position due to the geographical factors of the population has made the Democratic Party’s high-level focus on the rural constituency more than the urban constituency, because the former is more likely to be lost in the next election.
After the Democratic Party won the 2018 House of Representatives election with the “blue wave”, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Democratic Party, took a far-sighted attitude toward the new Cortes and Trebs mentioned above. Some left-handedly prominent motions have been put on hold or rejected in the Democratic Party.
Pelosi, who belongs to the founding faction, has different lines with Saunders, Cortes, and Treb, and it is difficult to resonate with each other. However, the realistic consideration of the electoral strategy is also an important reason. The leftist color of the Democratic congressmen from the rural constituencies is naturally much weaker, but they have gained a relatively important voice in the Democratic Party. This has caused the left turn of the US political ecology to lag far behind the left turn of American society as measured by the proportion of the total population.
It is worth noting that in the continued changes of the post-industrial society, the disadvantages of the Democratic Party in terms of population geography are showing a downward trend. Since Trump took office, many of the “suburbs” that originally supported the Republican Party have turned to support the Democratic Party. This is considered by many public opinion to be the key to the Democratic Party’s regaining of the House of Representatives in 2018. With the popularization of the knowledge economy and remote work, the “suburb” will irreversibly move closer to the city, thus pushing the left turn of the US political ecology.