Monday, May 14, 2007

A Thought Experiment, Part III (the Parties of the Right)

(In this thought experiment, I am imagining what the American political landscape would look like if America had some form of proportional representation, allowing third parties to flourish. Click here for a full explanation; click here for the parties of the left.)

Here are the parties of the right. The old fault line between libertarians and social conservatives will finally crack. The libertarians will flourish in their own party, while the social conservatives will divide themselves into economic liberals (concerned with the environment and poverty as well as abortion) and Christianists obsessed with "family values" issues. A strong anti-immigration party could surprise the political establishment. Meanwhile, country-club Republicans will be relieved to be rid of the more embarrassing elements of the old Republican coalition.



Archetypical members: Ron Paul, Milton Friedman.

Base of support: Middle-to-upper-middle-class, college-educated voters. Strongest in the Mountain West and New Hampshire.

Policies: Libertarian (laissez-faire economics combined with social liberalism.)
Comments: The libertarian party, while popular among the educated classes, would probably have a vote ceiling of 10-15%, due to controversial policies like the flat tax and the legalization of marijuana. Would hope to prove wrong the old adage that “there are no poor libertarians.”

Grand Old Party

Archetypical members: Rudy Giuliani, John McCain.

Base of Support: Country-club Republicans, pro-war voters.

Policies: Hawkish, pro-business, socially moderate.

Comments: Intriguing possibility of coalition with New Democrats, if differences in foreign policy could be resolved.

America First

Archetypical members: Pat Buchanan, Tom Tancredo.

Base of support: Talk-radio listeners, subscribers to The American Conservative.

Policies: Anti-immigrant.

Comments: Shunned by other parties on the right, could shock the political establishment with a National Front-style electoral surge.

Compassionate Conservatives

Archetypical member: David Kuo.

Base of Support: Christian suburban and exurban voters.

Policies: Socially conservative, environmentalist, redistributionist, anti-abortion.

Comments: Economically liberal, socially conservative voters find their home. Strong supporters of faith-based initiatives. Could work with Greens and Social Democrats on a variety of issues.

New Moral Majority

Archetypical member: Pat Robertson.

Base of support: Southern, exurban Christian voters.

Policies: Socially conservative, paternalistic. Anti-gay rights, anti-abortion, anti-evolution, anti-birth control.

Comments: The party of "family values."

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