The American Election’s Global Reach
The Obama-Clinton alliance, formalized with Bill Clinton’s blockbuster speech at the Democratic National Convention, confirms what has often been played down: President Obama has chosen to build on Clinton’s legacy rather than abandon it.
This is why the 2012 election matters not only to Americans but also to supporters of the moderate left across the world. What’s at stake is whether the progressive turn that global politics took in the 1990s will make a comeback over the next decade, and also how much progressives who embraced markets during the heyday of the Third Way sponsored by Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair will adjust their views to a breakdown in the financial system they did not anticipate.
Polls reflecting an Obama upturn since the conventions suggest the Obama-Clinton politics of balance is far more popular than ideological conservatism. The two conclaves plainly shifted the campaign’s focus to the views of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan — and the more swing voters think about what the Republican ticket would do, the less they seem inclined to support it.
Many conservative commentators attribute Obama’s bounce to Romney’s failure to be specific enough. They don’t want to acknowledge that on core issues, the electorate is far closer to Obama’s moderate progressivism than to Romney and Ryan’s conservatism.