Many would say that, with George W. Bush and his Republican Party holding onto power for the past two terms, Silvio Berlusconi regaining power (despite all the charges of corruption and incompetence which mired his previous sojourn in the top job) as the Prime Minister and even the Labour Party in the UK moving inexorably to the right, that the right of politics has finally been victorious. Indeed, despite all the excitement generated by Barack Obama's nomination as the Democratic candidate, the strongest lobbying groups in the United States remain those of the religious right - all of whom are likely to make more vociferous efforts than ever top elect a Republican considering that the alternative is a black liberal.
Politicians in the United States - even the most liberal of Democrats - avoid saying that they are liberal. The word liberal is now a dirty word and the replacement, 'Progressive' has been used in such a negative way by the right wing media such as Fox News (and particularly the infamous Bill O'Reilly) that it too has become a dirty word. Equally, across Europe (even France where Sarkozy has tried to dramatically alter France's traditionally left wing perspective) countries are moving more and more towards the right, even if they themselves are governed by supposedly left wing parties.
Part of the reason for this, particularly in Europe, is immigration. The rather melodramatic view of the right wing is that it thrives on fear. To a certain extent right wing politicians do thrive on the results of fear even if they themselves rarely engender it (I believe that the vast majority of right wing politicians are as much influenced by fear as those people they choose to represent). There is a situation where far more people are emigrating to other countries and this, in the richer Western countries, is causing the sort of xenophobia and fear that (unfortunately) seems to always arise when people are faced with what is different. Equally, the threat of terrorism, however much it is exaggerated to a ridiculous degree does mean that the right will gain more votes than the left. Frankly, pacifists are less likely to vote and the general populace seem to want revenge and security and all the things that the right promise them with hard line speeches.
The left, particularly in America, faces the twin problem that the right wing voters are always likely to vote and that the left wing voters are far less likely to vote. As such, if it is a rainy day Democrats stay at home whereas the Republicans, spurred on by their churches flock to the polls. It may well be the case that Barack Obama is far more popular than John McCain in opinion polls, but when it comes to the actual election he needs people to turn up. The right often see elections in America as a mission - a God-given mission - and that they have a duty to vote.
However, there are two last remaining hopes for Liberals in Western nations. In America it is that the Republicans, having made such an awful mess of the past eight years in power, that they have damaged the country's economy and foreign policy to such an extent that the general populace rise up and actually turn up to vote. This is a real possibility and could also be the case in Berlusconi's Italy. However, in the majority of the other European states (particularly France, Germany and the UK) the left can only see its own demise and its only hope is that it will bring the right with it.
The most powerful of the European nations are also those who are ignoring their politics the most. The British in particular have managed to elect a relatively right wing Labour Party and could soon a relatively left wing Conservative Party. In reality they are both centralist parties who share more ideologies and even policies than they would care to mention. Ultimately the left and the right are dead in these countries and there is only left that which is popular/electable. It will be a shame to see the end of true political ideologies and differences between political parties, but when a party's sole goal is to be elected it is understandable that they would rid themselves of anything that could hinder their election (such as a clear identity).
I would personally say that the American situation is preferable as at least there is a clear choice. Europe is old and tired and has lost its will for political fighting and, perhaps, for all his narcissism, corruption and frightening nationalism we need more people like Silvio Berlusconi - even if it is just as a reason to reject him with all our hearts.