Throughout much of the Western world we are seeing all things political shifting leftwards, so that one-time conservative political parties are now usually simply middle-of-the-road parties, while leftist parties have become hard-core leftist parties.
If we simply look at America and Australia we see this quite clearly. In the US the Democrats have gone full-blown leftist crazy, with two of the most extreme leftists now running for office: Clinton and Sanders. There was a time when a gung-ho socialist would not even be considered, but now he is seen as a serious Democrat player.
Pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality, and anti-Christian policies and platforms increasingly dominate in the Democratic Party. And don’t forget how the Democrats actually even booed God three times at their last national convention! There is nothing centrist about them anymore.
And of course the Republican Party has been imploding for decades now, filled with RINOs and moderates, pushing RINO and moderate candidates for POTUS – and losing time and time again. When a genuine conservative comes along like Cruz, he struggles to get any Republican Party support.
And the inability of the Republican Party to stand strong as a conservative party has led to the shocking Trump cult, which will likely seal the destruction of the Republicans. And the death of America as well. That legions of so-called Christians and conservatives can run with a New York liberal and lifelong supporter of Democrat and Establishment causes is shocking to behold.
Especially when they claim they are sick and tired of the left, the Democrats and the Establishment! Yep, makes perfect sense. And of course things are no better in Australia. The nation elected the conservatives with Tony Abbott at the helm, yet the turncoat and lifelong moderate LINO (Liberal In Name Only) Turnbull stabbed him in the back in an ugly coup.
That has still left hundreds of thousands – maybe even millions – of Liberal/National party members and voters seething. This kind of betrayal of conservatism has sent shock waves through the conservative community, and the mere passage of time will not easily smooth things over.
It is exactly because of the leftward tilt of the Liberals, especially under the sham Liberal Turnbull, that there has been so much more renewed talk of a new conservative political party. And today, if a press report is fully accurate, we may well be on the verge of that very thing, as we witness a new party based on conservative principles come into life.
Here is how an article in today’s Weekend Australian reports on this new development:
Rightwing Liberal senator Cory Bernardi has laid the groundwork to launch a new political force, the Australian Conservatives, to “give a voice back to Australia’s forgotten people”. In a move that risks further splintering the Turnbull government, a company controlled by the South Australian senator’s wife has applied to trademark the name and logos of the new group, with the stated aim of providing the “services of a political party”.
Senator Bernardi, who in September warned of a possible schism of the Liberal Party if Malcolm Turnbull did not uphold the party’s “distinctly conservative” character, yesterday described the Australian Conservatives as a program of his existing Conservative Leadership Foundation.
He would not provide further details about what the program involved or give an assurance he would not leave the Liberals to lead a breakaway party. In a rousing email to supporters on Monday, Senator Bernardi referred repeatedly to the “silent majority of Australian Conservatives” who were challenging “the leftist agenda of big government and decaying society”.
“Unless the mainstream parties connect with the ‘forgotten people’ they will choose a different path. It’s a global phenomenon and would be foolish to think it won’t emerge in Australia,” he wrote, citing the rise of Donald Trump.
“My mission (is) to build a movement that will change politics. To fight against the tyranny of political correctness and give a voice back to Australia’s forgotten people.
“That’s what Sir Robert Menzies sought to do over 70 years ago in forming the Liberal Party. It’s time Australian Conservatives reclaimed Menzies’s vision.” After Mr Turnbull seized the prime ministership in September, Senator Bernardi raised the prospect of a split in the Liberal Party unless it maintained a “distinctly conservative vision”.
“I don’t want it to come to that,” he said at the time. “I want us to be a mainstream conservative party, rather than just a vehicle for ‘anything goes, as long as I can climb the greasy pole’.” The senator yesterday would not say whether the risk of a party split had subsided….
The Liberal Party’s conservative fringe is being wooed by the Australian Liberty Alliance, which draws inspiration from populist Dutch MP Geert Wilders and champions a 10-year moratorium on Muslim immigration.
Tony Abbott in February warned the Liberal base would “flirt” with “more extreme alternatives” such as the ALA unless the Turnbull government maintained tough immigration and counter-terrorism policies. Mr Abbott has long cautioned against allowing fringe politicians to erode the Liberal base.
Now all this is very interesting indeed. And that closing paragraph raises some real important questions. With at least a half dozen other smaller conservative parties including the ALA already in existence, this push for yet another party might be problematic indeed.
Many folks have asked me over the years why all these smaller parties cannot just unite and form one major conservative party. This of course could be a sensible move, instead of allowing the conservative vote to get so splintered and diluted.
But as I have answered these folks often, getting them all to unite in one big party is unlikely for a number of reasons. First, most of these parties are led by strong, charismatic figures – which comes in handy when you are leading a party or some other group, but can be a hindrance when a bunch of these leaders are asked to lay down such leadership.
While a plurality of leaders is possible, it is not likely workable or desirable. That leaves appointing one person to be the leader. So just who will it be? And how many of these strong and forceful leaders will willingly relinquish power and control, and play second fiddle to someone else?
Very few would be keen on something like that. And even if these half dozen parties are quite similar in many ways (conservative, pro-family, etc), they still have plenty of differences. One of the main differences has to do with Christian vs non-Christian parties.
Those which are decidedly and unashamedly Christian parties are these: the Christian Democratic Party, Australian Christians, and Rise Up Australia. They are quite up front about their Christian basis. Then there are other parties like Family First which are overwhelmingly made up of Christians, but present themselves as a secular party.
The Australian Liberty Alliance presents itself as a secular party, but says this: “We are a secular organisation but acknowledge Australia’s Judaeo-Christian foundation.” As such, it has both Christians (of various stripes) and non-Christians running as their Senate candidates. See more on them here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/10/21/australian-liberty-alliance/
And then there are differences amongst the Christian parties as well. While the Democratic Labour Party presents itself as a secular party, most folks within it are religious and overwhelmingly – but not exclusively – Catholic. The other parties are primarily made up of Protestant evangelicals. The idea that all these sectarian differences will somehow vanish as one super-conservative party is formed is highly unlikely.
And even on policy proposals, there would be many differences which would have to be overcome and ironed out if all these micro-parties were to unite in one conservative party. So such a union is not impossible, but is laden with real difficulties and challenges.
If a new conservative party does come on the scene, and simply adds to the ones already there, we may just end up with even smaller pieces of the conservative voting pie as a result. And then again, we have to take into account all the new changes to the Senate which were just dealt with, which may mean a rather different outcome in preferencing deals, etc. See here for the latest on this: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/high-court-hearing-on-senate-voting-change/news-story/bfb0889ff001782d477aed469162c9fb
So we will have to see how all this works out in practice. As I have already told others, if a real major conservative political party comes on the scene, then sure, I and many others would support it. But it may take years to get properly established and have enough clout to make a real difference. In the meantime a divided conservative vote simply means, alas, more Labor Party wins for some years to come.
Just as the Labor Party split and the formation of the DLP in the 1950s meant a conservative hegemony for decades, so too a conservative split could mean the left staying in power for quite some time. But what are our other options? When all you have at the next federal election is a choice between Turnbull and Shorten, that really takes a lot of wind out of the sails of conservatives.
You almost wonder if it is worth voting with such bleak choices. In the old days you could get really impassioned and committed to an election, because you had real alternatives. You had conservatives like Howard or Abbott running against real lefty loonies in Labor. Your vote certainly counted then.
But as the main parties grow more and more alike, and as they both move further to the left, conservatives really are left feeling dispirited and disillusioned. If you just look at how all things pro-homosexual are creeping into conservative parties, you see what I mean. I wrote about this here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2016/03/20/homosexualisation-conservative-political-parties/
Again it is the same in America, with millions of conservatives utterly appalled at the prospect of a Trump versus Clinton election. After all, Trump spent his life promoting leftist and Democrat cases, and now somehow he is going to stand against all that? So I see this same disease in both countries and much of the West. Real conservative parties are becoming increasingly rare.
The only way this might be turned around in some places is sadly for more tragedies to occur. For example, as more and more Islamic terror attacks leave European streets covered in blood, the right-wing, anti-Islam parties are growing. Geert Wilder and his party in Holland are going from strength to strength in such a climate.
That is one way for conservative parties to get some traction. But regardless, things are looking rather bleak at the moment. And we still have to discover if Bernardi really will set up his own party or not. If he does, then Australian conservatives will have to think long and hard as to how they proceed: do they stick with the Libs or take the risk with a proven conservative, but an unproven new conservative party?
Time will tell on all these matters.