Do elections tell us anything significant about national character? Earlier this month two British journalists came to the sobering conclusion that, in the U.S. at least, they do.
"Some 41 per cent of American voters identify themselves as conservative," claims John Micklethwaite, U.S. editor of The Economist — a figure he says points to a deeper rightward shift in American culture and politics.
Micklethwaite and an Economist colleague, Adrian Wooldridge, have just published a book with the double-entendre title of The Right Nation. At a recent Carnegie Institute panel in New York they claimed that the Republican victory in the 2000 U.S. presidential election consolidated what was already a pronounced decline in the influence of progressive "liberals" who have dominated American domestic and foreign policy for decades.