So what's behind all of this polarized support and will it really make a difference to the world and economy? Recently, financial expert Dawn J. Bennett interviewed U.K. House of Lords member and author Lord Meghnad Desai on the subject. According to Desai, the likelihood of most of these candidates winning general elections against conservative parties is relatively slim. He claims that they will gain some support from certain demographics, but that their message is too focused on anti-austerity (austerity being retrenching measures undertaken by countries to cut spending, make more conservative investments, and rebuild wealth carefully through prudence).
Desai claims that these politicians ultimately cannot win completely on such a platform, and that the parties have not been able to avoid responsible cutbacks, in any case. That said, however, the relatively substantial support that they have been receiving will definitely lead the opposition to take them seriously and tailor any new election-time policy proposals to account for these constituencies.
One of Desai's theories about the resurgence of strong progressives in politics is the recession and it's after effects. We are still reeling from the unexpected blow of the financial crisis, and with uncertainty still lingering, many are looking for drastic change. Desai points to the American Gilded Age as an example of such a political shift: "the progressives were very popular in the late 19th Century, when America had been through a long sort of deflation, gold standard, long cycle of falling agriculture prices, and progressives got powerful."
While Desai claims that there is very little chance that many progressives will come to mainstream power, in the wake of Canada's recent election, in which the Liberal Party won a decisive victory under Justin Trudeau, we'll all be waiting to see what happens.