Donald Trump and Right-Wing Anti-Politics Parties Through the Poiltical-Economy Lense of National Medicarism
Over at Equitable Growth: There have long been many who fear immigration--or people who look and speak differently--and who fear social change--or social difference--while not loving a market economy that leaves them without security and vulnerable to falling into poverty because of incomprehensible decisions made by bankers thousands of miles away. There has long been an argument about whether this mode of thought is primarily the foundation of the republican virtue tradition (cf. Edmund S. Morgan: American Slavery, American Freedom); primarily a con game run by the rich against the non-rich (cf. Franz Neumann: Behemoth; William Freehling: The Road to Disunion); or primarily simply a somewhat-confused but not insane set of political doctrines that was taken over by Hitler and has thus lost legitimate modes of expression since the end of World War II.
Whatever it is, this is Trumpism. And, since 1945, as Matthew Yglesias writes: READ MOAR
thinkers who define ideological space have decreed... nationalist principles... pare... with small government... and cosmopolitan principles... pare... with economic egalitarian[ism].... But many actual voters see it differently...
Now there is the fact that in a country with native demography near zero population growth and thus with an aging society, hatred of immigrants and love of social insurance really do not go together at all. National Socialism competing for economic and other advantages against other nations trying to hog the world's global societal surpluses may be a coherent doctrine that adds up. National Medicarism does not. Yglesias:
To Understand Donald Trump, Look to Europe['s] Far-Right: "Populist conservatives... [claim] that if we weren't wasting so much money on welfare for migrants...:
...retirement programs would be easily affordable. This simply isn't true.... More immigration means at least marginally faster productivity growth, immigrants improve the ratio of working-age to retired people, and foreign-born health care providers help contain the cost of caring for the elderly.
Desire for social insurance, hatred of immigrants, fear that the haves--not so much the billionaires, who are to be admired from their Randite social-darwinist fitness--but, rather,an upper-middle class that knows how to work the system, is stealing your stuff, all adding up to a fear that the system isn't working for you and people like you. This is not an unexpected thing to see in a world in which rapid economic growth at the top is accompanied by mass stagnation and mass insecurity among those who thought that they were going to make it. And it is all over the place in the North Atlantic:
To Understand Donald Trump, Look to Europe['s] Far-Right: "Newish parties... are gaining support with platforms...:
...[of] nationalism... anti-immigrant politics... [plus] a more... [larger] welfare state... the Trump ideological mix.... Their rise has been astoundingly swift, and it tells us a lot about Trump.... As unlikely as Trump's rise in the polls has been in some ways the rise of the Sweden Democrats is even weirder.... Trumpism, in other words, is much bigger than Donald Trump or the particular pathologies of the US Republican Party. It's a global phenomenon....
Thinkers who define ideological space have... decreed... nationalis[m]... pair[s]... with small government... and cosmopolitan[ism]... pair[s]... with economic egalitarian[ism].... But many actual voters see it differently... are both beneficiaries of government programs... while also being skeptical of the kinds of social change brought about by immigration.
And to the extent that the people who think this way are called fascists and Nazis by virtue of these thoughts, they will sooner or later start giving a positive ideological valence to fascism and Naziism.
Sometimes this can express itself in a kind of 'keep the government's hands off my Medicare' ideological confusion. Other times, leaders of mainstream conservative parties can try to square the circle, as when the Republican Party promises to cut Social Security benefits for young people but not for old people...
As my sister points out, it is a very interesting strategy to promise a special set of goodies for a particular group that by agreeing undermine the broader coalition that has created those goodies and also lose the power to block future action to take those goodies away. Thus it seems to me that ideological confusion is the natural strategy of mainstream right-wing parties so far in the twenty-first century. And I believe this is at the root of the current war on science and arithmetic we see in the American Republican Party, and elsewhere.
The replacement of mainstream conservatives by anti-immigration and anti-difference National Medicarists seems to me highly likely, for:
Mainstream conservative[s]... [can't advocate]... social welfare for retirees because, being parties of the right, they [want]... taxes low...
and, as Sam Brownback's disastrous rule-by-confidence-game in Kansas shows, ideological confusion can take you only so far when you eventually have to govern.
The problem is that the National Medicarists will be no more friendly toward arithmetic, science, or a reality-based technocratic policy debate about policies that would really work.
Populist conservatives... [claim] that if we weren't wasting so much money on welfare for migrants, retirement programs would be easily affordable. This simply isn't true.... More immigration means at least marginally faster productivity growth, immigrants improve the ratio of working-age to retired people, and foreign-born health care providers help contain the cost of caring for the elderly.
The two central planks of National Medicarism--keep out immigrants, and top up Social Security and Medicare--do work against each other given the North Atlantic's current demography and relative wealth. Someday somebody should write something about how Japan's lost decades are in large part due to its falling victim to its own version: National Medicarism with Japanese Characteristics...