The Rise of ‘Welfare Chauvinism’

The United States and Europe reveal the contrasting ways in which political systems in advanced democracies cope with factors as diverse as globalization, depressed wages, cultural tension, welfare policy, immigration and nontraditional family structures, along with racial, ethnic and religious division.

In the United States, the besieged two-party system has remained intact, protected by a 200-year-old tradition and an electoral system that cuts short any bid to create a viable third party.

There are two major costs to this stability: recurrent gridlock, which constricts legislative action, and a failure to provide full representation to the most aggrieved constituencies.

.. These parties have adopted a strategy that might seem strange on its face but actually makes sense, according to the logic of their grievances: exclusionary nationalism combined with generous support for safety-net programs available only to legal residents.

.. The traditional European social democratic left and the Democratic Party are both struggling to address the often conflicting interests of a socially liberal elite and an economically pressed lower class.

.. New actors on the far left and far right, as well as astutely positioned conservative and Christian democratic parties, will not hesitate to capitalize on the struggle to craft a clear narrative – however myopic and divisive.

.. These changes, Ford and Goodwin write, “have pushed to the margins a class of voters who we describe as the ‘left behind’: older, working-class white voters with few educational qualifications.”

.. These value shifts have also left older white working-class voters behind, as a worldview which was once seen as mainstream has become regarded as parochial and intolerant by the younger, university-educated, more socially liberal elites who define the political consensus of twenty-first-century Britain.

.. supporters of Marine Le Pen’s right-wing National Front are, in comparison to supporters of other parties, less well educated, employed in manual and blue-collar jobs and live in rural areas.

.. “The Class Basis of Switzerland’s Cleavage Between the New Left and the Populist Right.”

.. small-business owners and workers prefer cultural demarcation and defend national traditions, salaried professionals strongly favor international integration and multi-culturalism.

.. “the more robust the multiparty system, the less likely the main left party will be able to dominate” among liberal-leaning constituencies.

.. the emergence of “a more profound, if nuanced, politics of identify” is fracturing the European left from two directions.

.. On one side, “middle-class progressive-values voters and the younger generation place an ever-increasing importance on a tolerant society and support equality for gays, promote multiculturalism, and express concern for the environment.”

.. the new politics of identity traps progressives on both sides. Whatever political position they adopt is bound to alienate either their working-class voters, who tend to be more conservative with regards to values, or progressive-values voters and the millennial generation, who are turned off by the more nationalistic rhetoric that appeals to the traditional or core voter base.

.. Populist parties on the right are moving beyond their adamant opposition to immigration, the European Union and the welfare state to become proponents of a more lavish, but also more restrictive, domestic social spending regime under a policy European scholars describe aswelfare chauvinism.”

.. parties of the right support health care, housing programs and other benefits with the explicit proviso that only legal residents qualify and that public spending on behalf of illegal immigrants be eliminated.

.. We will ensure that visitors to the U.K., and migrants until they have paid N.I. for five years, have N.H.S.-approved private health insurance as a condition of entry to the U.K.

.. the American two-party system, when it works, forces politicians and the public to submit to a multi-step process requiring competing interests to compromise. The first stage is the building of Democratic and Republican coalitions with the aim of winning elections