Vail Daily letter: It could happen here
November 5, 2013
Dismal poll ratings, local election defeats and government division; nope, not talking about the USA, it's France. How could this happen in socialist loving France? It's a cruel mix of crushing taxes, no jobs and a tapped-out government credit card (they can't print money the way we can). The two major parties, Center Right Party and the Socialist/Communists, have been indulging in bashing each other and not addressing France's problems. This opened a door for a much smaller far-right party (the FN) to drop its extreme agenda and pivot to being the party of immigration, jobs and economic growth and so it is winning local elections in the south of France. Meantime French Socialists remain serene and promise that the French recession is over, they might be fooling themselves but not the French people. According to a poll a minuscule 1 percent agreed that the French recession is over, even among left-wing voters (Economist).
The USA political scene is very similar to France. Only 13 percent think that the USA is headed in the right direction, 64 percent favor smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes, 39 percent strongly disapprove of the president's job performance and 49 percent say the economy is getting worse; much better than the French, but still worrisome (Rasmussen).
Just as in France, the USA has a fledgling third party, the tea party. The tea party has a simple agenda of smaller government and less tax. The party only has to pivot slightly to include immigration, job creation and economic growth to capitalize on public discontent. The "D's" and "R's" are locked into partisan feuds and ignoring public opinion, leaving a political void. The French FN party has a single leader and has easily pivoted to its present position, but the tea party is either leaderless or has too many leaders to make a fast pivot so it might miss out on a historic opportunity. Next year's party primaries will tell if the tea party can field candidates that can win elections.
We certainly live in interesting times, I just wish the stakes weren't quite so high.
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