by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
National Review Online excerpts a new book from David Goodhart that highlights a major change in Western politics. (Those who viewed Matthew Elliott‘s recent presentation for the John Locke Foundation might recognize some of the key themes.)
Brexit and the election of Donald Trump — the two biggest protest votes in modern democratic history — marked not so much the arrival of the populist era in Western politics but its coming of age.
Looking back from the future, the first few years of the 21st century, culminating in those two votes, will come to be seen as the moment when the politics of culture and identity rose to challenge the politics of Left and Right. Sociocultural politics took its place at the top table alongside traditional socioeconomic politics — meaning as much as money.
This book, conceived at the beginning of 2016, was originally intended to, among other things, warn against the coming backlash against the political status quo — and in particular against the “double liberalism,” both economic and social, that has dominated politics, particularly in Britain and America, for more than a generation.
The backlash came earlier than I expected, but it did not come out of the blue. In fact it was widely predicted and has been several decades in the making. Britain has been catching up with more-established trends in Continental Europe and the US. The spirit of the new political era can be found in solid support for populist parties across Europe (many of which have been part of governing coalitions), in persistent opposition to large-scale immigration, in Trump’s election in the U.S., in Brexit, in the success of the Scottish National Party and of the middle-class left populism of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, and in the demise of much of the European center Left.