Mardi 26 septembre, j’ai participé à un échange avec des députés progressistes allemands (SPD), italien (Partito democratico), britannique (Labour) et avec des représentants du parti démocrate américain.
Voici (en anglais) les questions sur la base desquelles nous avons débattu (compte-rendu à venir)
Why is the centre left losing?
Only a third of the EU’s population of 503 million is now led by a centre-left head of government or state. This compares to 2007, it was nearly 45%. Why are these such challenging times for Europe’s centre left? Has the decline been due to the economic crisis or has it been an ideas deficit for progressives? Can we see patterns across our social democratic sister parties of why we are losing and the centre right is winning?
The rise of populism?
We have witnessed the rise of both the populist right and left across the world over the year and beyond. How have populist leaders or movements galvanised momentum over the last year and has this tied been stayed with the election of Macron in France?
The rise of the outsider?
We have seen the backlash against so called political elites throughout Europe and in the US, with Donald Trump positioning himself as the anti-establishment candidate, as did Macron. Is it now impossible for someone within the “political elite” to win an election? And in some countries, is it now only possible to win by setting up a new party rather than within existing institutions?
The impact of social media and new news sources?
Populists throughout the West were early adopters of social media and such platforms quickly became a favourite tool for political communication. In the Netherlands, Wilders’ social media following d that of other Dutch party leaders. Similarly, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) boasts the largest social media following among German political parties. And Marine Le Pen’s National Front is well-known for its digital prowess, with an office in Paris dedicated exclusively to managing the party’s social media presence and aggressively launching online campaigns. Le Pen’s far left opponent in the first round of voting, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, demonstrated a similar social media pre-eminence. With a YouTube channel hosting some videos with over five million views and a Facebook following of over 900,000, Mélenchon fans took their enthusiasm to the web. And the whole world is aware of The US Presidents use of social media. What has worked and what hasn’t? What innovations should parties adopt? What lessons can other parties learn?
Have progressive political parties lost touch with their base? Professor John Curtis has described the Labour Party’s days as the party of the working classes as “long over”. While in the US Trump won white voters lacking a college degree by an extraordinary 39 points. Are we seeing a shift away from social democracy within the working class? How do progressive political parties now manage a potential split between what is called a traditional base and a more metropolitan, socially liberal support base?
The future of progressive messaging and policies? Given these political shifts, how do progressive political parties respond through policies and messaging to shift the balance back towards their ideology? And is it even possible to message to a split base between traditional
voters and newer socially liberal supporters?