For as long as I’ve been writing about these topics, I have described the two political groups in the United States as “left-wingers” and “right-wingers.” I did this for several reasons, one being the term “liberal” has a very different meaning in Europe than it does in the USA. Another was that many on the right have disowned or moved away from the term “conservative.”
I thought the terms “left-winger” and “right-winger” were clearer and more encompassing. And they were, to a degree, when I started using them around 15 years ago.
But since then things in America have changed. Radically.
Most people think that the political landscape in America looks something like this:
In other words, about half the country is left, half is right, and there’s a very small percentage of those weirdo libertarians like me. Some may argue about the specific percentages of right vs. left; perhaps it’s 55%/43% or whatever, but the general shape of that above chart is what most people think America is today.
But it isn’t. It isn’t even close.
This breakdown was accurate several decades ago. However, over that time, the right wing in America went through several changes…
- Republicans started to slowly and secretly embrace big government starting with Nixon and then with Reagan.
- Many of those who self-identified as conservatives began openly supporting big government under George W. Bush, creating a new category: the neoconservative.
- Conservatives lost the culture war under Obama and were finally defeated by the insane left. A few years after this, American right-wingers lost their minds, becoming just as insane as the left.
- Under Trump, “Conservatives” shifted to the left. The majority of Trump supporters and self-identified Republicans now openly support left-wing policies. I showed the data here.
Here’s what most modern-day right-wingers don’t understand. If you dislike feminism, political correctness, and Hillary Clinton, but think the welfare state is a pretty good idea, and “free” government health care is a pretty good idea, and universal basic income is a pretty good idea, and free college is a pretty good idea, and guys like Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang have some pretty good ideas, then guess what? You’re a left-winger. You’re not a right-winger at all. You’re a left-winger who doesn’t like feminists, but you’re just as socialist as a standard Democrat.
What I just described is the vast majority of today’s Americans who self-identify as conservative, Republican, or Trump supporters.
Therefore, the right-wing in America isn’t just smaller, it actually doesn’t exist anymore. What passes for “the right” in America today is a guy who loves big government, agrees with the welfare state for the most part, thinks the government should give us even more free services, doesn’t mind that much that we taxpayers spend trillions of dollars on a global military empire, but who bitches about feminists and SJWs on the internet.
That’s a left-winger, folks. It’s just a new flavor of left-winger we haven’t seen before.
That not only describes today’s “right-wingers,” but with the possible exception of Ben Shapiro (the only political commentator remaining of any strong repute who is still a real conservative), it describes pretty much all “right wing” American political pundits.
The problem is most Trump supporters would vote for Bernie Sanders, who would give them lots of the free stuff they want, over Ben Shapiro, who would take it all away. Yes, I’m serious; in a presidential election held tomorrow of Sanders vs. Shapiro, at least 51% of Trump supporters and Republicans would vote for Bernie Sanders, meaning Sanders would win. They would do it very quietly and the polls would absolutely not reflect it pre-election, but that’s exactly what would happen. I’d seriously bet $100,000 of my own money on that. And I’d win.
What few libertarians there were have also been sucked up into the big government “right wing” Trump craze. Vox Day, Stefan Molyneux, Alex Jones, and many others who used to be small government libertarians are now big-government alt-lite Trump followers. This has essentially destroyed whatever tiny libertarian movement there was in the USA.
So, today’s America actually looks like this:
Today’s USA has essentially become like Europe. In other words, various factions of big-government leftists who argue with each other on how best to be left. Like in Europe, some of these left-wingers may call themselves “conservatives” but these “conservatives” love big government and the welfare state which is very unlike the real American conservatives of a bygone era.
I break these left-wing American factions into three groups.
The Corporatist Left – This is the faction with the most power, at least at the moment, though they’re currently in trouble. These are the standard corporatist Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and so on. They pretend to be anti-war, but they actually love war. They occasionally pretend to be anti-business but are actually in the pocket of big business and the big banks. They love massive government spending and the welfare state, but not too much. For example, they love things like Obamacare but are horrified by things like single payer health care or Medicare For All. They don’t mind raising taxes on the rich, but not too much, since the rich are their donors. This is currently the largest faction, but they are rapidly losing members to the other two factions.
The Progressive Left – These are the real left-wingers like Bernie Sanders, The Young Turks, and other SJW left-wing internet movements. They’re soft socialists who believe strongly in free government services for everyone including “free” health care, “free” college, near-unlimited welfare, a very high minimum wage, a universal basic income (at least in some cases), and so on. They are for ending the wars abroad. They utterly hate anyone they perceive as rich, think billionaires should be outlawed, and want to jack up taxes on the rich as much as humanly possible. This faction is currently at war with the Corporatist Left (the Left–Wing Civil War I’ve referred to several times before) and is rapidly growing as the Collapsing USA moves further to the left.
The Trump Left – These are Republicans, Trump supporters, the alt-right, alt-lite, and anti-SJW internet trolls. They are who I described already. They love big government and support a strong welfare state in all respects (free money, free health care, and so on) provided it doesn’t go to any illegal immigrants. They are left-wing on most economic issues (welfare state, universal basic income and so forth) and the surveys clearly show they are left-wing on most social issues as well (weed legalization, gay marriage, climate change, etc), but unlike the Progressive Left, they have a limit on the social left-wing aspects they will support. They are usually nationalist (or at least lean in that direction) and anti-immigration. They are irritated by the Corporatist Left and utterly hate the Progressive Left and spend most of their time trolling and arguing with the SJWs and socialists on the Progressive Left as a means of entertainment. The Trump Left will sometimes pretend to care about the future of America, but their real priority is making the Progressive Left angry. If Trump does things like bomb a country for no reason, doesn’t build a wall, or increases spending by $1.8 trillion, they don’t mind at all as long as he keeps making people in the other two factions furious. This is the smallest of the three factions but is growing slowly (though not as fast as the Progressive Left, which is growing faster) as more and more people get sick of things like political correctness.
I don’t know the precise breakdowns of these three factions, but based on the data I’ve seen my rough guess is something like this:
As of now, I will no longer use the terms “left-winger” or “right-winger,” in my writings, since there is no “right wing” in the USA anymore. Yes, there are a tiny few conservatives like Ben Shapiro, but like libertarians, these people are now a teeny tiny group of oddballs with no power in American government or culture whatsoever. There is no right wing, since these tiny few conservatives aren’t big enough to be a “wing” of anything.
Going forward, whenever I talk about politics I will instead refer to the more accurate breakdowns of most Americans, the three big factions controlling American zeitgeist: the Corporatist Left, the Progressive Left, and the Trump Left.
As usual, since I’m a libertarian and I’m moving out of the USA in a year, none of this really matters to me on a personal level. I just think about what would happen if someone from today went back in time to people in the 1980s and explained to them what would happen to American political leanings in just a few short decades…