(Note: This is a non-Florida post, just so you know)
After 12 years of right-wing rule in Mexico, which lead to not only the economy in Mexico taking a big hit but also crime skyrocketing and the drug war flaring up, Mexicans decided to go a different direction in Sunday’s presidential election and return the left-wing party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, to power. Previously, the PRI had been riddled with scandal and, in some cases, murder. But Mexicans decided that a return to PRI policy, even with the possibility of corruption not being totally swept out of their party, was better than that of the right-wing National Action, or PAN.
Sunday, the conservatives took a big hit in the presidential election. They didn’t even finish second in the Presidential election. That honor was given to the Democratic Revolutionary Party, or PRD, a left-leaning party which was created by Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano (son of Mexican President Lázaro Cárdenas del Río) in the late 1980s in response to the corruption of the PRI and Carlos Salinas, took 2nd place, impressively finishing only 4.5% behind the PRI. With that being said, left-leaning candidates took 70% of the vote in the Mexican Presidential Election.
In France, much of the same happened. After years of conservative rule under the presidencies of Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, the Socialist Party reclaimed the French presidency. A few weeks later, the Socialist Party made even bigger gains in the Assemblee Nationale elections. Just like with Mexico, the issue of the economy and government spending was huge. The laissez-faire economic policies of many of the European Union governments has led to the near-collapse of the already fragile Euro. French voters have decided to take another direction and return to the days of Francois Mitterand.
In these two countries, the change has already happened, but what about the rest of the world? In Britain, the Labour Party is starting to gain their footing yet again, as they now have a nine-point lead over the Conservative Party in the latest opinion poll. If the Parliamentary elections were held today, Ed Miliband and his Labour Party would have 42% of the votes compared to 33% for David Cameron’s Conservative Party.
In Canada, much of the same is happening. The National Democratic Party, led by Thomas Mulcair, who assumed the leadership after the death of Jack Layton, are now tied with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party of Canada at 35% in the latest public opinion poll. In Quebec, where the NDP doesn’t even have a provincial arm of their party and only had one elected MP (Mulcair) before the last election, swept Quebec in the last elections. The sweep was known as “The Orange Crush”.
Besides these, other countries are either retaining their left-leaning governments, like Brazil, or making a complete change, like France. But what seems to be causing this?
In many cases it is the economy. But in some other cases, I wonder if it is the arrogance of the ruling right-wing parties that eventually leads to their unpopularity? In Canada, while the economy has shown a little life, the fact that the CPC is ramming everything they can through government is becoming more of a turnoff than a turn on. Basically, it is the opposite of Wisconsin. Other right-wing government’s “insistence in passing things” attitude has turned things around as well.
So, why in the United States, do we not see this change? I would personally say that most people in the US are more left-leaning. In fact, poll after poll shows that they are. On the other hand, there are a group of people who “misidentify” themselves. For example, I have a Republican friend who is pro-choice, non-religious and supports minimum wage increase. Why is he a Republican? Good question.
The Republicans have been very successful in creating not a political party, but a “club”. They have created this atmosphere that their party has more of a country club atmosphere than it does anything else. Just like joining a country club, people think if they just register and vote Republican, they will be more accepted and their lives will be better. Of course, we all know that this is crap, but they don’t think it is. And when looking at a real country club, in the end, the only thing you get is to play on a nice golf course, which you still have to pay for.
Basically, the Republican Party has created a “country club” that you don’t have to pay for. By claiming that one is a Republican, they are stating that they are part of that country club atmosphere, without paying the thousands of dollars for membership to the club. This is how come Republicans have been able to constantly win while they are mostly on the losing side of most issues.
In other countries, they don’t do this. A political party is exactly that, a political party. There is no “if you vote for us, you will be rich too” type of atmosphere. Of course, here in the United States, we are raised on “get rich quick” commercials from when we are born until when we die. While many of us don’t listen to those commercials, many do listen, which is the reason they can keep running commercials.
So, what do Democrats need to do to be successful? While we do win elections, we don’t do as well as we could. And I am not just talking about Florida, but throughout the nation. Do we create our own “country club” type of atmosphere, and make people feel like they are part of a club like the Republicans currently do? Or do we define the Republican Party as a “political party”, bring the debate to politics and purely take them on the issues.
That is the million dollar question…the answer that we do not yet know.