Obama and the Politics of Party Unity
Chrystia Freeland, Reuters Opinion– …the often contradictory interplay between social policies and economic ones is the underlying dynamic that today drives U.S. politics. The party that juggles the two agendas most adeptly will be the one that wins the White House in November.
To understand what is going on, you have to go back to the 1960s. Since then, two big political shifts have reshaped U.S. society, politics and economics. The first is the vast expansion of individual rights and liberties. Women, ethnic minorities and, although not completely, gay men and lesbians, fought their way into the public arena. This tremendous social transformation was championed by the left, and it has largely succeeded.
Beginning in the 1980s, however, a second big shift was taking place. This was the Reagan Revolution in economic policy, which brought cuts in taxes and in regulation and a weakening of unions and the social welfare safety net. This transformation was championed by the right, and it, too, has largely won the day.
These two different victories are the back story to the big political dramas of today. They are the reason that the left and the right both feel cheated and aggrieved, and both want to win back a country they feel has been stolen from them. The right wants to win back the country from the left’s social revolution; the left wants to win it back from the right’s economic revolution…