Confronting the New Conservatism: The Rise of the Right in America

In the final contribution in Confronting the New Conservatism, Stephen Bronner sets out how progressives and liberals (in the American sense) can challenge the Right. The Left, he argues, underestimated neoconservative ideology and can learn from the success of the Right. The conservative message has been primarily aimed at everyday people rather than other intellectuals. The Democrats have tried to speak to the same people but their pragmatism and their lack of any deeper guiding beliefs has meant the needle of their political compass is constantly drawn to the pole of the Right. Bronner, a political science professor from Rutgers, argues that the Left must undergo changes itself if it wishes to defeat the Right. A key problem is the fragmentation of the Left into autonomous constituencies especially on the basis of identity politics. Because of this the Left ‘appears far weaker than the sum of its parts.’ Academics and intellectuals of the Left are separated from the general public by a chasm. Which is all more or less correct.

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