The left in collapse
It's been a tough decade for the political left. Eight years ago a Time magazine cover portrayed Barack Obama as Franklin Roosevelt, complete with cigarette and holder and a cover line proclaiming "The New New Deal." A Newsweek cover announced "We Are All Socialists Now."The states have become real Democrat wastelands leaving them with roughly a handful of governors with Democrat legislatures. Liberalism and "government by experts" has been a huge disappointment to voters who have been turned off by the liberal agenda.
Now the cover story is different. Time has just announced, inevitably though a bit begrudgingly, that its Person of the Year for 2016 is Donald Trump. No mention of New Deals or socialism.
It's not surprising that newsmagazine editors expected a move to the left. The history they'd been taught by New Deal admirers, influenced by the doctrines of Karl Marx, was that economic distress moves voters to demand a larger and more active government.
There was some empirical evidence in that direction as well. The recession triggered by the financial crisis of 2007-08 was the deepest experienced by anyone not old enough to remember the 1930s. Barack Obama was elected with 53 percent of the popular vote—more than any candidate since the 1980s—and Democrats had won congressional elections with similar majorities in 2006 and 2008.
Things look different now, and not just because Donald Trump was elected president. It has been clear that most voters have been rejecting big government policies, and not just in the United States but in most democratic nations around the world.
Leftist politicians supposed that ordinary voters with modest incomes facing hard times would believe that regulation and redistribution would help them. Evidently most don't.
The rejection was apparent in the 2010 and subsequent House elections; Republicans have now won House majorities in ten of the last 12 elections, leaving 2006 and 2008 as temporary aberrations. You didn't hear Hillary Clinton campaign on the glories of Obamacare or the Iran nuclear deal, and her attack on "Trumped-up, trickle-down economics" didn't strike any chords in the modest-income Midwest.