Sunday, June 7, 2009

EU Elections Favor Conservative Candidates

Major elections culminated on Sunday throughout the EU with the results now showing pronounced shifts in the representation of America’s closest allies. Voters throughout the 27-nation Union handed considerable defeats to liberal candidates, a move that has been widely characterized as punishment for poor economic stewardship. Preliminary projections from the EU are reporting that the center-right coalition, led by the Liberal Democrats (yes, they’re the conservatives), could make up the largest bloc with as many as 273 seats. The multi-national parliament, which has control over the Union’s budget, has 736 seats overall.

Moderate conservative CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL appears poised to benefit from this trend in Germany when their national elections are held this fall. British PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN, himself to the center-left, is expected to fare poorly when the next ballot is called in Great Britain sometime before June of 2010. Brown’s problems are perhaps more accurately attributed to a recent corruption scandal that has forced the resignation of several high-level administration officials.

From the American perspective, the implications of this political rebalancing are unclear. It should be noted that many “conservatives” in Europe favor social and economic policies that members of the Republican Party in United States would be quick to label as “socialist.” That being said, an alarming number of victories were won by anti-Islam and whites-only parties in Great Britain, Austria, and Italy, largely in response to illegal immigration problems from Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. This kind of xenophobia is not openly voiced in the United States; our politicians are remarkably homogenous, mostly as a result of our two-party system.

Overall, I expect President Obama to now have greater difficulty persuading European states to put up large sums of capital to loosen international credit markets or to “bailout” international firms, though this stage in his economic recovery agenda may well have already passed. It is possible that a shift to the right in Europe may mean greater support for the American military efforts in Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan. However, given the fiscal responsibility wave that many new conservative leaders were elected upon, they may be averse to expending more resources to fight international terrorism.


ShamRockNRoll said...

Great post, Eddie. I too was wondering about what effects this trend in Europe may have for our relations in the region. I don't think it will be too much of an issue, but it will be interesting to observe as things unfold. Keep up the good work!

mooseman said...

death of neoliberalism,(hopefully) unfortunatly its still thriving in this country.

ShamRockNRoll said...

Care to elaborate?

mooseman said...

from what i hear the people who lost the election were their version of dlc corperate democrats, (so good ridence). the greens actually made some gains. I hope you are under no illusions as to were obama's allegence's are. Also i hope eddie can expand upon his views on the af/pak war and fighting international terrorism.

ShamRockNRoll said...

Where Obama's allegiances are? Um...? Sorry, I was just trying to figure out what your point was but you seem to be jumping around a bit.

mooseman said...

my apologies. my point is that, what just happened in europe could happen here. were the neo-liberal candidates, (who are intrinsically tied ti financial capitialism) got defeated by the right wing, and the left made marginal gains. i dont know if you read the recent paul krugman peice, but our politics mirror the u.k.'s a lot, so if obama's policies dont work i fear the same will happen in america.

more personlly, i would like to state that i am in incoming freshman, and i was really glad that i found this blog. I look forward to contributing to the progressive infrastructure at notre dame. i actually just got my coarse selection form in the mail, and was wondering if oyu guys had any advice about the history or politics classes at nd. thanks

ShamRockNRoll said...

Well in our country's politics, the candidates who are most tied to neo-liberal economics are in fact, the neo-conservatives. The wording is ironic, I know... and the DLC types are being consistently purged from within (i.e. McAullife's defeat in Virginia's Dem. Governor primary, Obama's election over Clinton, etc.) So I really wouldn't worry too much about that yet.

True if Obama's policies are unsuccessful it will provide fuel for conservatives in future cycles. But I think his policies will be successful to some extent, and that any natural cyclical economic factors will aid in this (in other words, at some point, the economy will rebound).

But regardless, the conservative infrastructure is a mess... I'm not about to say that we have elections locked up for the next generation... BUT... all factors are benefiting us in the future. (Dems are growing, Reps shrinking, Independents growing and trending more towards Dems; electorate becoming more diverse, more accepting of liberal social policies etc... all things that will isolate the Republican party if they don't move drastically to the center).

Anyhow, welcome to ND!!! We hope to see you at our College Dems meetings in the fall. I never took First Year Studies because I transfered here, but I'm sure someone else can help offer advice in that area. As far as classes you may be eligible to take next year, I did take intro to IR last year with Lindley. His is a challenging class, but he is a great professor.

Henry Vasquez said...


Glad to have you commenting on Lefty's. How'd you find us anyway? We're always looking for good marketing ideas. I wonder which worked. Can't wait to meet you in the fall, dude.


Bill said...

If you have any questions about political science courses at ND, I'd be glad to offer my help. I'm a political science major myself (as are presumably other writers on this blog), and I've taken classes with some really fantastic professors.

You can also check up with
They have some kinda reliable professor evaluations.

Good luck with Notre Dame!

blakey said...

thanks for the love, yeah i was actually talking about politics on the facebook group for the 2013 class, and i was the only progressive, ( it was like 4:1 against me,) and im from santa monica, CA so i was afraid that i would be all alone at notre dame. so i searched "notre dame progressive" and this came up.

i was either going to do early U.S. history or comparative politics as one of my electives. any advice?

(name change)

ShamRockNRoll said...

Welcome, blakey. I'm also from SoCal (Temecula, sadly not Santa Monica).