What do reversed American Political Parties look like?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by NiGHTS, May 5, 2019.

  1. NiGHTS BMC-14

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    For context: A lot of people tend to say that American politics are really right wing by Western Standards. The GOP can be described as being far right by European standards, while the Democratic Party can be described as being center right. The US is frequently said to have no real left wing. But, in an alternate USA where this is the opposite(as in one party is far left and the other is center left, with no real right wing, by Euro standards ), what does that look like? What would they argue about?

    I need help on this, as all the image I get in my head is that the center-left party looks like something of Germany's CDU or of the US's Sanderista faction of the democrats, while the far-left party looks like something like something like the Black Panther's/Radical Feminists mixed with a bunch of the groups from the 60s. So, like something like Brogressives vs Intersectionalists. Both pretty left wing on economic issues,but having real big differences socially, with the moderately left wing party, having been the original left wingers, being (relatively) conservative on racial and LGBT issues, while the radically left wing party is a lot more for seeking to solve those issues.

    I don't know, but that's my temporary take on the idea. What's your guy's take?
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  2. KingOnTheEdge Well-Known Member

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    We need a few PODS.. first one is a more equal country during and after reconstruction, which creates massive butterflies and usually seems to result in earlier “wilsonianism” that manifests in expansionism. But that’s more butterflies idk.

    Secondly the Russian revolution has to be fascistic in nature, not communist. The Cold War drove us right and then took a right turn at Reagan. German reunification would be fascinating because I doubt a fascist Russkie would bother with puppets and clients in favor of simple annexation. This would spread, at least slightly, Slavic ideas and culture. Of course, this might mean an entirely different WW2, but Hitler would still want western Russia so idk how much. Korea would probably be the biggest difference but I’m not sure how.

    But a leftest America might just look like Canada socially, with Dixie as our Quebec.
     
  3. NiGHTS BMC-14

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    Would you mind elaborating on the last part, as I don't know how Quebec compares to the rest of Canada.
     
  4. KingOnTheEdge Well-Known Member

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    As I understand it, it’s got an enforced secularism (which might be reversed in the us dixie analogy, with them being far more religious than the north otl) and is far more conservative. And of course the separatism.
     
  5. Wendell Wendell

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    While I find the premise itself somewhat dubious, I think that this is hard to achieve in a country perceiving itself as individualistic and idyllic as the U.S. does. This is easier to do (but still not particularly likely) if the U.S. never expands west of the Mississippi River or, better, the Appalachians.

    That said, Reds! is a timeline on this board that I think satisfies your premise.
     
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  6. NiGHTS BMC-14

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    I don't know that sounds a bit extreme. It's not like the US is run by literal fascists, so a world in which it's run by literal Communists is a bit more than what I'm looking for. Not too mention I'm not asking how to achieve this, but what would it look like. Like, what would a party that is the total opposite of the Republicans look like? Things like that.
     
  7. Wendell Wendell

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    The polar opposite of a populist classical liberal (Republican) Party and a populist social liberal-progressive (Democratic) Party would be illiberal, no?
     
  8. Jürgen Well-Known Member

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    It’s not a viable party system, the reason why the Republican can be so extreme are because they almost only go after White voters, while a party represents minority’s extremist ideologies would alienate other voter segments in their coalition. A large extremist left wing party would need to be a class party representing farmers and workers, I would look at the European Communist parties of the interwar period to seek inspiration in rather than weird minuscule movements from the 60ties and 70ties. I think the POD have to be a Democratic victory in 1928, followed by a Republican victory in 1932. This would serve to give room to the rise of a strong worker-farmer movement in opposition to the two main parties. As such we see a split between a social liberal right party and a socialist left party.
     
  9. El Terremoto Well-Known Member

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    Socialist victory/revolution before the Russian Revolution would likely lead to a left-wing social democracy rather than a socialist republic.

    This might popularize syndicalism as it’s not really socialism but clearly isn’t liberal capitalism.
     
  10. Landmass Wave Well-Known Member

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    Due to our two-party system, you can't really have an opposite of the Republicans because they're too factionalized. You have the neocon wing (Bushes, so I don't stray into current/last 10 years) and noninterventionist/libertarian types (Ron Paul). You have the traditional socons and Republicans who want the Pill to be available over the counter and marijuana to be legalized at least for medical use. You have pro Wall Street Republicans and anti-corporate welfare types.
     
  11. Superninja76 Well-Known Member

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    How about no american entry into WW1 mixed with Luigi Galleani's ship to america getting the titanic treatment?
    The wobblies can't be smeared as unamerican traitors if there's no war for them to refuse to participate in, and if galleani and his thugs don't ruin the reputation of the left with their barbarism, the palmer raids have significantly less justification, and may not even occur.

    Up until the federal government came down on them, the IWW and their political partner, the American Socialist Party, were making some gains and I recall that the ASP even got something like 6% of the popular vote in 1912, and lafolette got 16% in 1924. If they aren't beaten into the dirt, the far left could have become a force to be reckoned with, and the proletariat would be rather better off for it.
     
  12. Wendell Wendell

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    No World War I might be useful too if one is otherwise convinced that this could transpire.
     
  13. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

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    Allow me to bring up a matter for your consideration: the USA is perceived, and generally perceives itself, as this "small-government", individualist, capitalist, free-market country. The actual fact is... that's mostly just a myth. The corpus of legal regulation in the USA is no less voluminous than in Western European states. Federal taxes may be much lower, but that's deceptive: in most European countries, virtually all taxes are centrally levied, and regional taxes are minimal. The USA has (often substantial) state taxes, and when you take those into account, the "small government" myth soon evaporates.

    The USA is often considered right-of-centre when it comes to social attitudes, but that's also an outdated view. Yes, some states are very conservative (see: the recent thing in Alabama). But so are certain European countries (had a look at Hungary's government lately?). And while some Western European countries are very progressive... the USA has now legalised gay marriage across the board (more progressive than Western Europe when seen altogether), and several states have fully legalised marijuana (making them more tolerant than my own "soft drug paradise", the Netherlands!).

    So let me suggest something: a "Reverse USA" would be a country that talks a whole lot about how left-wing, communalist and progressive it is... but which would not be substantially different in its actual governance, law, culture or attitudes. Because when you get right down to it... the USA is an extremely moderate, average country in all these respects. If you flipped it around, it would still be moderate and average. Onl;y its outward presentation (the "national myth" that it projects) would radically change. The facts underneath would be largely the same as in OTL.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  14. Landmass Wave Well-Known Member

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    Also take into account that what's viewed as left and what's viewed as right can change. Wilson was a progressive - and a virulent racist. His era was the heyday of eugenics and scientific racism.

    More recently, opposing the Patriot Act was left wing during the Bush administration, but the leading opponents ended up being the GOP Freedom Caucus. Opposition to pornography comes from a coalition of feminists and religious conservatives.

    The earlier your POD, the more possibilities you have to make the US a center-left country, because you aren't limited to the OTL issue set. Positions associated with the left in OTL could be associated with the right in a different TL, and vice versa.
     
  15. Optical_Illusion Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully not too PoV stuff:

    - Reverse USA's bias towards greater acceptance of income inequality towards more European norms, or further, and assuming that bit home, you would probably see a blunted degree of selective migration from entrepreneurs etc and instead you would attract more low and medium skilled migration. (Per the normal standard Borjas model - https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/...-potential-in-countries-with-more-inequality/.) So the sort of way these trends of high income migration contribute to Silicon Valley, finance, creative industries wouldn't really exist as much. Plus I'd guess the system itself probably would not be as selective on skills or income, and more than that you would further also probably see more of a Scandinavian type selection of refugees in place of OTL US's greater emphasis on American Dream type migration.

    - Reverse USA's bias towards international interventionism and military imperialism, and you would probably see more continuation of involvement in various things by Western European empires in its place. Possibly a more austere attitude to social programs in Western Europe to fund this sort of thing as well.

    So the USA as a more of a society that is a bit isolated from the rest of the world and doesn't play as prominent a role in attracting entreprenuers, or pioneering new technology or global strategic influence, but is more of a safe haven for people seeking to escape various sorts of Old World struggles?

    Other outcomes seem a bit more PoV (does the US's approach to income inequality improve growth or not matter?, does the US's healthcare and education policy results in less improvement for expenditure or not matter when you control for population behaviours , etc.?, Is the US really more right wing on porn, individual consumption choices, censorship, etc? etc.)
     
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  16. Landmass Wave Well-Known Member

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    A lot would depend on the PoD.

    Reconstruction: If the planter class is deported and the plantations turned over to freedmen and poor whites - along with black people being eligible for homesteads in the West, you may end up with the Republicans as the party of farmers (both black and white) and the Democrats as the party of urban dwellers and banking interests. Since nativists are part of the original GOP coalition and immigrants are more likely to enter the country at ports and settle in cities, the Dems also become the party of immigrants.

    1912: Roosevelt doesn't make a third party run and Taft wins a second term. No Wilson, so we don't see backsliding on race relations and our international engagement takes on a different form depending on who wins in 1916. A lot of ways that could go.

    1936: Huey Long lives and primaries FDR. Economic populism fused with distrust of city slickers becomes the basis for a realignment.

    1960: Nixon wins. GOP becomes associated with civil rights - and also with the social unrest later in the decade and whatever happens in Nam (unpopular war, letting S Vietnam fall, putting blood and treasure into Korea 2: Electric Boogaloo, or something else). Wallace wins the D nomination and the two parties develop from there - perhaps with a more socially libertarian Gipper.

    1980: A successful Operation Eagle Claw boosts Carter to a second term. The Democrats become a strongly Christian party - antiwar, pro environment, pro social welfare, pro life. The Republicans become the party of wealthy interests and libertinism.

    Could even do a future POD, like the 2030s. Religion is popularly associated with black and Hispanic people. Secular progressive policies like requiring doctors to perform euthanasia or pharmacists to carry Plan B are viewed as backdoor racism, as they disproportionately lock minorities out of the largest sector of the economy. Cities like NYC and San Francisco are perceived as elite bubbles, generating both economic and cultural resentment.
     
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  17. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

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    Imagine that! It goes like this, and by 1996, you have a contest between a cosmopolitan, internationalist, socially liberal, urban-backed, big business Republican and a non-interventionist, vaguely populist, rural-backed, pro-welfare and socially conservative Democrat. The latter wins, and the headlines read:

    "It took a hundred years to count the votes... and William Jennings Bryan won"

    (The party system would pretty much have reverted back to what it was at the end of the Gilded Age! This would make a spectacular timeline.)
     
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  18. Landmass Wave Well-Known Member

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    That would be fun to read. I wish I had time to create one.
     
  19. The_Utopia Tropical Northerner

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    Hey,

    I’m from Quebec and what you’re saying is a bit off. Secularism is a hot topic here, and the younger generations don’t agree with it. I lived in the US and Quebec is very much on the left side of the spectrum, and is more on the left than the rest of Canada. Also, separatism isn’t that strong anymore, autonomy for the province is more adequate! Hope it helps you :)
     
  20. KingOnTheEdge Well-Known Member

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    Ah, muchas gracias.