Does the US really have a "Left Wing"?

By that i mean, by global standards, is our “Left Wing” really left wing? The Democrats and Republicans are both pro capitalist parties. They just differ on exactly how much social safety net we need. No serious republicans are advocating dismantling Social Security/Medicare/Unemployment insurance. And no serious Democrat, even the most “progressive” Democrat advocates seizing the means of production from capitalist.

There is a wide schism between the 2 parties on racism/sexism/and other social issues And that can be a very clear dividing line, but does it make a pro capitalist party “left”. In the context of domestic US politics we divide ourselves up into whether we are right of center or left or center. But it seems to me if you compare us globally and historically, most of us are right of center, we just differ on how much so.

This BBC article might shed some light.

Personally, I think that the gov will eventually have to take over healthcare.

Not sure how that article would have changed my view in the OP. “Leftist” Americans want to keep Capitalism, just tax the Capitalist more and add some social programs.

Nobody on the mainstream “Left” is suggesting we get rid of Capitalism.

If that is your definition of “Left”, what countries do have a left wing, in your opinion?

Left is always relative. A Democrat in America may be a conservative in Sweden. But since it’s the American political axis we’re talking about, then left is left.

Former and current Socialist/Communist regimes.
Social Democracies, countries with a Capitalist system, albeit with significant social welfare programs, are not “Left”.

That is my question. Globally speaking (not the American political axis), in the great debate among philosophies, if a US democrat would be considered conservative in Sweden, are they really “left”

Plenty of countries have “far left” parties in government:

Well, yes. Otherwise what would we call it? Should we call Democrats “right-wing” and Republicans “far-right wing?” That would be odd.

“Left” and “right” are always relative to the nation (or other entity) in which they exist. So it doesn’t really matter if the policies a US lefty likes would be considered centrist in Sweden.

It’s just a water-cooler topic, really—what answer could we come up with that would change anything at all?

FWIW the us Democratic Party is a member of the Progressive Alliance just like the Swedish Social Democratic Party. I suppose if they got kicked out then it might be time to reconsider. But they are not really that far to the left, or at least not able or willing to implement leftist policies to a great extent.

“Left” and “right” are relative terms, obviously; you’re always to the left, or right, of something. The Democrats are to the left of the Republican Party, and on that basis you can reasonably call them “left”, and by the same token the Republicans are “right”.

But if you adopt some external referent, then obviously the Democrats and the Republicans could both be to the left of that, or indeed to the right, depending on your referent.

If you want to place them on the spectrum of politics as practiced in western democracies generally, then the Democrats are centrist and the Republicans are right-wing. If you place them on the spectrum of US politics then the Democrats are left and the Republicans right. But that’s a trite observation, since the US political system is designed to concentrate power in the hands of two parties and to exclude all others, so one of those parties will always be left and the other right.

It wasn’t meant to. You asked a question. I had assumed in good faith.

I understand the point that many have made. That the Democrats are to the “left” of the Republicans in the context of American politics.

I am asking if being “left” of Republicans, but still pro free market Capitalism, really qualifies as left in the world wide understanding of the term. maybe it is just semantics or a water cooler question.

seems like more Liberal Capitalist vs Conservative Capitalist.

i see this argument often. Republican calls a liberal democrat a dirty commie. The liberal democrat takes offense and insist he in no way condones communism.

i am defining right/left as the overall economic system that controls society. And if you gathered every Poli Sci professor on the planet (not just the US), they would too.

I don’t see the US on that list.

Usually, I see dirty socialist by the Republican, though I’ve rarely met the Republican who knows what socialism actually is.

Yes, I think that the US is center-right on most issues when it comes to the world stage. There are certainly more progressive countries and more regressive ones.

I think it’s more like liberal vs. conservative. For left-wing groups, there are socialist and communist parties.

Should have read: “I think that the US left is center-right on most issues when it comes to the world stage.”

This is probably the 987th repetition on the Dope of the mantra about how there really isn’t a left wing in the U.S. by some global standard or other.


Might as well castigate the U.S. for being soft on crime because North Korea and Singapore.

Not lame. What you refer to as “some global standard or other” is a very tangible set of values that have, for example, given every single industrialized democracy on earth – with the US being the sole exception – some form of universal health care. Most countries have had it for generations. The US still can’t even come close. Even the ACA is entirely private-insurance based and really just a set of tweaks to what remains the unconscionable privatization of health care funding, absolutely exorbitant health care costs by any standard, and the rampant proliferation of mercenary for-profit hospitals.

Lacking the values implicit in what you call “some global standard or other” is also the reason the US – the richest country in the world – has one of the poorest social safety nets among developed countries, and one of the largest income inequalities, which has been worsening over nearly half a century.

By the same token, the US is a great place to start a business, a great place to seek capital for doing so, and a really terrific place to actually be rich. But these privileges come at an enormous social cost. Such is the politics of the US relative to the rest of the developed world. It may suit you that it should remain so, but at least recognize it for what it is.

Are you really asking if the US has a Communist Party?

They differ on a lot more than that – things like health care, gun control, voting rights, racial equality, and gender equality. Being “left” doesn’t mean advocating nationalization of all means of production – that’s communism. Being “left” in most western democracies means a different balance between capitalism and socialism than has been popular in the US, which hews much more toward pure and unfettered capitalism rather than capitalism regulated for the overall good of society.