Monday, May 02, 2022

The French politics theory of everything

Ross Douthat in the Sunday New York Times --

Six years ago, under the pressure of Donald Trump’s insurgency, the G.O.P. split into three factions.

He goes on to describe the 3 factions: party establishment, "True Conservative" / reactionary, and populist / pugilist. 

This certainly has descriptive power. But did it begin 6 years ago, and is it more general? The division is very easy to map into the famous classification by René Rémond of the French right into Orléanist, Legitimist, and Bonapartist. The first looks for an accommodation with constitutional change and pushes market-oriented policies, the second is reactionary and dwells on perceived loss to social change, and the third looks to go forward, under an inspirational but combative and authoritarian leader. 

Douthat looks at various plausible consequences of the factionalism and the complications caused by Trump's occasional drifting between them. But he doesn't focus on the ultimate outcome in French politics: the weakening of political parties and the evolution of parties into personal vehicles. It might be better to think of the Republican party has already having broken up and at this point more of a logistics vehicle for soliciting opinions. But that would need a different kind of political analysis than the American public gets.