Social Democratic parties have long been steady pioneers of European democracy, but over the past decade they have suffered a humiliating collapse. It is commonly asserted that European countries have entered a classless society. Subsequently, mainstream left parties adopted broad electoral strategies to appeal widely to the median voter, exemplified by the Blair-Schröder Third Way. Electoral backlash following the British and German social democratic party’s 1990s neoliberal shift, their approach to globalization as well as their handling of the financial crisis and refugee crisis have eroded their popularity. Subsequent frustration with the political establishment is exemplified by the cultural backlash thesis. However, a countermovement signified by postmaterialism and social liberalism calls for transformative social and political change. The two convictions clash on binary issues, exacerbating a righteous divide between sociocultural liberals and conservatives, recently popularized as the “anywheres” and the “somewheres”. This paper puts forth the necessity for social democratic parties to re-engage with the cleavage politics of today. This is particularly important as today’s cleavages are largely ideologically driven. Questions of electoral strategy, ideological positioning and mobilisation tactics are contested intra-party. Attention is paid to Corbyn’s Labour, whose move towards traditionalism at first earned electoral support, only to be discredited in 2019. In comparison, the German SPD embraced centrism in 2017 and were penalized for it. They must now respond and offer a strategic alternative following competition from the Greens and Die Linke.