We’ve had many “unexpected” people try and claim that Donald Trump is actually one of their bunch, and further, has been all along. And the guy hasn’t even been president-elect for a week yet. Embarrassingly, both sides of the Labour Party have got in on the act. View Emily Thornberry and her “Jeremy is like Trump except without all the hateful yucky stuff” routine, which I hope for all of our sakes is short-lived. On the other wing, some ex-Blairite corporals have also been spouting gibberish about Trump not only being a centrist but being centrism “turbo charged”. The idea here is that because Clinton and Blair took things from both the Left and the Right (they used to call it “triangulation” in the old days) and Trump takes things from the Left and the Right, he is basically Bill Clinton Mark 2. Yeah, okay. If I didn’t think the Labour Party was in very serious trouble before this week, the last few days would have more than convinced me.
Look, I get where all of this is coming from. Figures from the left of centre all across the western world are seeing a horror show and can’t bear to watch. Nor do they want to spend the next four years whinging non-stop. So instead they are trying to talk themselves into seeing the current situation as not all that bad. Hey, have you ever noticed that the alt-right is really gay? Maybe that means Trump might help gay rights in the States (when not rounding up Mexicans and piling them into the backs of death trucks)! Straw clutching barely covers it.
Let’s ask a simple question here: could Trump be considered a liberal, at least in the European sense of the word? I am pretty broad minded when it comes to granting the term liberal. For instance, I would allow both George Osborne and Tim Farron the label, if they wanted it and I was judging some “liberal or not liberal” contest (go with me here). But Trump? He’s anti-free trade and anti-immigration, both in explicit terms. It’s hard to come back from that in the liberal sweepstakes. In my fictitious contest, the Donald gets a thumbs down.
In the end, it’s much better to face up to reality and admit defeat. Once you’ve come clean on that, you can start to really try and rebuild. How does liberalism make a comeback in the age of populism? Where are the new ideas to forge a more open-minded, liberal future? These questions are worth answering. Otherwise, you’re just kidding yourselves. What next? Marine Le Pen redefined as a liberal? An invitation for the AFD to join D66 in some sort of continental liberal love-in since, hey, we’re all liberals now that the term is stripped of any definition.
There comes a point where words begin to lose all meaning if you apply them too broadly. Words like “liberal” and “centrist” are too important to destroy, even if it makes some people feel better for a little while about the fact that Donald Trump has been elected the president of the United States.
he is against the ongoing adherence to the liberal ideology but willing to take the best parts of it, seeming to prefer a kind of small government, nationalist type of free enterprise democracy. the parts of liberalism he takes seem to be the parts that de facto have become commonly accepted as desirable by the people like various equalities but without any of the PC or liberal theology attached
he probably will take climate change seriously once suitably de-politicised as no more important cause has been used as a political tool by those who claim to take it seriously
the liberal orthadoxy is opposed to all of this. they want no part of it for reasons unknown
maybe its simply that the status quo of the day, happens to be liberal and status quo’s hate any hint of change. even if by not changing they are the cause of their own demise, thats quite normal behaviour for status quo’s of every type and colour
any attempt to paint trump as akin to new labour or centrist belongs within the protective walls of the asylum, unless a new definition of centrist applies which allows it to shake the status quo in a way that middle of the road ways normally don’t favouring incremental, smaller and smaller changes, but when blows come to the edifice they look like out of touch chumps
so come along the radicals like trump with many and various solutions on right and left
middle of the road radicalism? commonality within seemingly opposed political persuations?
there is actually a chance of that working (by uniting left and right semi-extremes who want change but are not ideologically bound then ignoring mainstream chumps and extreme nutters) but it probably would take a miracle to pull off. interesting idea though.
corbyn and the radical but not communist left is kind of the same threat to the liberal powerbase as trump, neither libertarian freedom, see trump, or true equality, the left, are friendly to the status quo at all and want no part of either of each others concepts and the status quo wants neither
if they oppose each other its just over who gets to be in charge at the end of the day and which one is better. hope that voices of reason keep things away from extreme points of view that no-one wants, pity the media is so dumbed down and one sided!