Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Thought Experiment, Part II (the Parties of the Left)

(See here for a full explanation of this thought experiment. Basically, I'm imagining what the political landscape would look like if America had some form of proportional representation, allowing third parties to flourish.)

Here are the parties of the left. I am assuming that the tension between free-traders and protectionist Democrats (and, more generally, between New Democrats and traditional Democrats) will break the party in two. These two successor parties will garner the majority of votes on the left but will be joined by a strengthened Green Party and a small but vocal Black Congressional Caucus.

New Democrats

Archetypical members: Bill & Hillary Clinton.

Base of support: Middle-class suburban voters, voters with college degrees.

Policies: Neoliberal economic policies such as a balanced budget and free trade, combined with social liberalism.

Comments: The New Democrats, masters of triangulation, could conceivably enter into coalitions with parties on the right if the need arose.

Social Democrats

Archetypical member: John Edwards.

Base of support: Labor unions, working class, minorities, the religious left. Strongest in industrial states that suffer from the negative effects of globalization.

Policies: Redistributionist economic policies, economic protectionism

Comments: Very similar to European social democratic parties.


Archetypical member: Ralph Nader.

Base of support: Affluent suburban voters.

Policies: Environmental, dovish.

Comments: The Green Party could draw a surprisingly large percentage of votes. The current Green Party manages to win 4-5% of the votes even in the current system, which makes voting Green counterproductive. It is not hard to imagine the Greens gaining 10-15% of the votes in a proportional system. Its appeal might weaken as other parties adopt environmentalist positions in the face of global warming.

Congressional Black Caucus

Archetypical members: Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson.

Base of support: African-American voters. Strongest support in inner cities.

Policies: Redistributionist economic policies, economic protectionism, support for affirmative action and education reform. Moderate/conservative on social issues like gay marriage.

Comments: The Congressional Black Caucus would probably focus on a few key issues and enter into coalitions with the Social Democrats. It would struggle to take middle-class African-Americans away from New Democrats and Social Democrats.


Fz said...

Where does, say, Joe Lieberman fit in? Or perhaps he wouldn't be included in the "left wing" parties?

DC said...

Whoops, I forgot to include "Connecticut for Lieberman."