Politics In A Steep Recession

Some people have expressed surprise that the Great Recession hasn’t proven to be a boon to left-wing political movement. I think the expectation that something like that would be the result of a financial collapse is based on an over-generalization of FDR and the New Deal. If you look at the 1930s in a global context, the predominant trend was the rise of far-right nationalist parties, not just in Germany and Japan but across a huge swathe of Europe. And today’s lesser recession is prompting a small version of the same thing:

The surge for the True Finns is the latest in a series of breakthroughs by populist and far-right parties in Europe, fuelled by economic discontent and concern about immigration. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s centre-right UMP party suffered a drubbing in regional polls last month amid a strong showing by the far-right National Front. Nationalist parties have also made gains in Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium over the past year.

US politics has a different dynamic, but there’s been a definite increase in the influence of the faction of the Republican Party that’s decided retroactively that George W Bush was insufficiently rightwing.