As the political scientists Seymour Martin Lipset and Stein Rokkan famously observed, during the postwar years, the party structures of North America and western Europe were “frozen” to an unprecedented degree. Between 1960 and 1990, the parties represented in the parliaments of Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Ottawa, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna, and Washington barely changed. For a few decades, Western political establishments held such a firm grip on power that most observers stopped noticing just how remarkable that stability was compared to the historical norm.
Yet beginning in the 1990s, a new crop of populists began a steady rise. Over the past two decades, populist movements in Europe and the United States have uprooted traditional party structures and forced ideas long regarded as extremist or unsavory onto the political agenda. The influence of populists has been especially striking in the past few months. In May, Euroskeptical and far-right parties demonstrated unprecedented strength in elections to the European Parliament, even topping the polls in France and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, in the United States, the Tea Party has sparked a civil war within the Republican Party: the most recent casualty was the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, an influential party power broker who was defeated in a primary election in June by a previously obscure archconservative challenger. The movement is now poised to make major advances in November’s midterm elections and will likely be able to hold Congress hostage with its obstructionist tactics for the foreseeable future.
FK – Our domestic blood enemies’ arrogance is boundless, indeed I think it is cosmic. My comments on the CFR ‘Foreign Affairs’ site:
We have something better than pitchforks, thanks to our Bill of Rights and that tiny minority who have protected and expanded our natural born Liberties through the centuries and we recognize that we don’t have a distemper, we have a plague and you are it.
Get out of our country. You don’t belong here.
We ain’t askin’.