Which party would the average American Democrat vote for if they moved to your country? And why do you think that?

By: | Post date: May 18, 2017 | Comments: 2 Comments
Posted in categories: Australia

As all the other answers have said, there is just too broad a spectrum of views within the American Democrat party for us to speak of an average Democrat. Unless, of course, that is code for “moderate Democrat” or even “blue dog Democrat”.

Australia too has two big tent major parties.

  1. Labour has a left wing, but not much of a left-wing policy anymore, and the Labour Right has been dominant for a while. The Labour Right has a socially conservative constituency, which is part of the reason why Australia still has not legalised gay marriage.
  2. The Liberals have a moderate and a conservative wing. Formerly, the split was about economic policy. In the past decade, the split has mostly been about social conservatism, with the moderates more libertarian and the conservatives more authoritarian. That split is the current big story in Australian politics.
  3. The Nationals have been in lock-step Coalition with the Liberals for the past four generations, and their brand of agrarian populism does not appear to have had much impact on government policy when they have been in government.

As with much of the West, the two major parties’ fervour has hollowed out, and they have bled votes to populists:

  1. Left wing populists (formerly the Australian Democrats, nowadays the Greens, who have locked up the inner city intelligentsia),
  2. Right wing populists (of which One Nation is only the most notorious),
  3. And even Centrist populists (the original Australian Democrats, back when Labour was still a left wing party; nowadays the Nick Xenophon Team).

So the landscape is just as messy as America, and the two major parties are fractious coalitions just as in America. But third parties are slightly better established, and of course the social consensus is to the left of America, both socially and economically.

A social conservative Republican might make their home grudgingly in the Conservative wing of the Liberals, and the newly bellicose Conservative Liberals have certainly been borrowing rhetoric from America. But they would be bothered by the abundance of RINO equivalents, and may eventually flee to a more principled party. One Nation, possibly, if they’re anxious about culture and race; Family First or Rise Up Australia if they are Christianist.

A libertarian Republican might make their home grudgingly in the Moderate wing of the Liberals, and the newly supine Moderate Liberals have certainly been borrowing rhetoric from America. But they would be bothered by the abundance of big government statists even in the Moderate flank, and may eventually flee to a more principled party. The only real alternative is the Liberal Democrats—which by Australian standards is horridly right wing (Why Ridiculously Stupid White Man David Leyonhjelm Will Lose His 18c Racial Discrimination Case – New Matilda)—simply because Australians are really not used to libertarian rhetoric. (Yes, New Matilda is left wing.)

In terms of sentiment, a Sandersnista would gravitate to the Greens, who are the only somewhat mainstream voice against refugee demonisation and for gay marriage. (Labor has been riven on both, because of its big tent.) A Clintonista would gravitate to Labor, and Labor functionaries do apprenticeships in Democrat campaigns.

In terms of actual economic or social policy, a Sandersnista would probably find themselves somewhere in the Labor party (more to the left socially, more to the right economically). A Clintonista would find themselves freaking out at the overt power of Unions in the Labor party, and hopping between Labor Right and Moderate Liberals.

Just as outsiders can see American politics more clearly than those caught up in its culture wars, so too I trust that an American Clintonista can actually make out some sunlight between Labor Right and Moderate Liberals…


  • John Cowan says:

    I actually read that headline as “… will lose his eighteenth-century racial discrimination case”. While the article was interesting, it wasn’t as interesting as that reading would suggest!

    • John Cowan says:

      Speaking of which, can we hear from you on section 44(1)? I was thinking what would happen if the Parliament of Nauru passed an act (which would only require ten votes) naturalizing all members of the Australian Parliament as Nauruan citizens retroactively to their dates of birth.

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