A repeat of 2016 would reveal the centre-Left as having no response to populism

A repeat of 2016 would reveal the centre-Left as having no response to populism, by Matthew Goodwin.

According to the latest snapshots the race is still Joe Biden’s to lose. The Democratic challenger is enjoying average leads of more than six points in the national polls and four points across the all-important battleground states. Today, Trump leads in just three crunch states: Georgia, Iowa and Texas. If the polls are correct, then the path that Trump took to victory four years ago is simply no longer available. …

But the bookies give him only a 54% chance …

What if today’s extreme leftism and identity group politics fail again at the ballot box?

Since the revolts of 2016, liberalism has essentially had two opportunities to reply to the new alliance of cultural conservatives and national populists: the first was through the Brexit culture war; the second is through today’s campaign against Trump’s re-election.

The first went disastrously wrong. Rather than engage meaningfully and seriously with what Brexit represented, a request for change, liberals did all they could to block the vote outright, overturn it or dilute it so that it was largely indistinguishable from the status quo.

Along the way, they repeatedly derided and dismissed the other side as racists and relics from the past. The failure of liberalism to rise to the occasion and chart a more constructive path forward was then reflected in what happened next: Boris Johnson’s comprehensive victory, the worst Labour vote since 1935, and the passing of the Withdrawal Agreement.

If, after four long years, this winter the Democrats similarly fail to articulate a compelling, convincing and successful reply to Trump-ism, then alongside recent events in Britain this will confirm that liberalism is in a much deeper crisis than people thought four years ago.

Aside from exposing the fact that “anti-populist” campaigns are on their own insufficient, a Biden defeat, coming so soon after Brexit, would throw light on a glaring absence of ideas that might otherwise be capable of maintaining or even saving the liberal project.

This is the most significant but acrimonious US election for decades. If the left loses again, will they reverse course on identity politics or any items of grand strategy?

Or will today’s white left continue stacking the electorate with third worlders? If so, they will inevitably watch their country being ruled by the new immigrants, not by them. Will the US then become just another “world culture”, perhaps preceding a slide back towards the Malthusian economy that was mankind’s lot until 1750? Will humanity’s bright spark only last three centuries, before being dimmed and overwhelmed by the new mouths to feed?