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Once centers of hope, political parties are dying

14 4 19

There’s little difficulty in showing that some of the most venerable political parties of the democratic world may be facing terminal crises. The difficulty is in determining if government by a party or parties – the sustaining base of administrations the democratic world over – can last.

On most material measures, the world is getting better – less poverty, more education and literacy, healthier people (though few believe it). But not for the established political parties which often helped make it so. That is because the parties are at the mercy of a series of vast movements, global rather than bounded by the nation state.

In the United States, the Republican party of Abraham Lincoln has been seized by Donald Trump, a man who often seems to prefer autocracy to democracy. The shift is driven by forces as disparate as an increasingly precarious and resentful workforce (nearly 60 percent of American workers are paid by the hour), a white backlash against the Obama presidency and a corporate world which rejoices in a new tax plan that richly rewards the rich. Voters may turn against the Republicans in the 2018 mid-term elections, but the Democrats, having lost a presidential election they expected to win, have not yet found either a leader or a unified message.

In Europe’s leading state, Germany, the narrow victors in the September federal election – the center-right CDU/CSU – embark in January on talks with the center-left Social Democrats, coalition partners in the previous government. Both parties, with decades of often-distinguished political struggle and governance behind........

© Japan Today