Is a shift to the right inevitable?

This morning an op-ed column in the New York Times was published by Paul Krugman, the nobel laureate in economics and famous liberal commentator. His article claims that in times of an economic downturn, the reaction of the voters is to shift to the right.

The full article is located here.

The following are some excerpts:

When the economy plunged into crisis, many observers — myself included — expected a political shift to the left. After all, the crisis made nonsense of the right’s markets-know-best, regulation-is-always-bad dogma. In retrospect, however, this was naïve: voters tend to react with their guts, not in response to analytical arguments — and in bad times, the gut reaction of many voters is to move right.

That’s the message of a recent paper by the economists Markus Brückner and Hans Peter Grüner, who find a striking correlation between economic performance and political extremism in advanced nations: in both America and Europe, periods of low economic growth tend to be associated with a rising vote for right-wing and nationalist political parties. The rise of the Tea Party, in other words, was exactly what we should have expected in the wake of the economic crisis.

There are other segments of the column worth reading, but those two paragraphs represent the essence of the argument. When many economists and analysts were expecting a shift to the left in the voting policies of the people, why was there a shift to the right?

My own reaction is that there is a sense of anger against the ruling party. Does anyone remember the influence of the group moveone.org during the last election cycle?

Anytime there is some sort of economic turmoil, the political extremists come out in full force. The problem this time is, as Krugman notes earlier in his post, that the media is more than willing to report on the extremism occurring, and in some cases (see: Sarah Palin’s multiple gaffes), lend some of extremists credence.

It’s something to think about today.

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2 Responses to Is a shift to the right inevitable?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Is a shift to the right inevitable? | East Coast by West -- Topsy.com

  2. Laura says:

    Interesting that the Krugman article states Mitt Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts is “more or less identical to the Obama plan”.

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