DUP Pact Makes It Harder for May to Win Back Middle England

British prime minister Theresa May and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn walk down the Houses of Parliament in London, England to listen to the Queen's Speech, June 21
British prime minister Theresa May and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn walk down the Houses of Parliament in London, England to listen to the Queen’s Speech, June 21 (UK Parliament)

The compromise British prime minister Theresa May has hashed out with Northern Ireland’s unionist party to stay in power could make it even harder for her Conservatives to win back the trust of Middle England.

May didn’t have much of a choice. No other party was willing to prop up her minority government, which is nine seats short in the House of Commons.

But the pact with the hardline Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which hasn’t updated its social views since the 1980s, compounds the mistake May made in calling an early election. Read more

Election Exacerbates Britain’s Blue-Red Divide

A woman looks out over the skyline of London, England, May 13, 2014
A woman looks out over the skyline of London, England, May 13, 2014 (Ray Wewerka)

Britain’s general election result confirms that the political divide in the country has shifted from the traditional left versus right to what I call “blue” versus “red”. Read more

French Presidential Election Reveals a Divided Nation

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées in downtown Paris, France in early evening, March 13, 2011 (Flickr/Aeror)
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées in downtown Paris, France in early evening, March 13, 2011 (Flickr/Aeror)

The first round of the French presidential election on Sunday laid bare many of the same cleavages that have opened up in other Western democracies recently.

Emmanuel Macron, the centrist former economy minister and the favorite to prevail in the second voting round in May, drew most of his support from the big cities and the prosperous west of the country.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the nativist National Front, came in second overall but placed first across the economically depressed north of France and in the socially conservative southeast. Read more

French Parties Collapse as Voters Flock to Blue and Red Extremes

The facade of the French National Assembly building in Paris, June 21, 2011
The facade of the French National Assembly building in Paris, June 21, 2011 (cactusbeetroot)

Three of the top four contenders in the French presidential election on Sunday come from outside the country’s two major political parties. The Socialists’ Benoît Hamon isn’t even in contention anymore while the Republicans’ François Fillon may not qualify for the runoff in May.

The frontrunner, Emmanuel Macron, left the Socialist Party last year to start his own progressive movement.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen lead the far left and the far right, respectively, which have so far played a minor role in French politics.

Their popularity says more about voters’ disillusionment in the two-party system than it does about their own appeal. Read more

Election Reveals Educational Divide in Netherlands

Sophie in 't Veld, a Dutch liberal Democrat member of the European Parliament, gives a speech at Utrecht University, August 12, 2011
Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch liberal Democrat member of the European Parliament, gives a speech at Utrecht University, August 12, 2011 (Sebastiaan ter Burg)

Liberal Democrat and Green party voters in the Netherlands are more educated than supporters of the nationalist Freedom Party and far-left Socialists.

An Ipsos exit poll found that 58 and 55 percent of liberal Democrats and Greens, respectively, have graduated from college. Only 15 and 18 percent of Freedom and Socialist Party voters have. Read more

Netherlands’ Wilders Bleeds Support to Christian Democrats, Socialists

Dutch Christian Democrat leader Sybrand van Haersma Buma arrives in Brussels for a summit of European conservative party leaders, October 15, 2015
Dutch Christian Democrat leader Sybrand van Haersma Buma arrives in Brussels for a summit of European conservative party leaders, October 15, 2015 (EPP)

I reported here the other day that Geert Wilders’ nationalist Freedom Party is losing support in the Netherlands.

Now we know where his voters are going.

The national broadcaster NOS reports that the nationalists are bleeding support to the Christian Democrats on the one hand and the far-left Socialists on the other.

That might seem odd, given that those parties are opposites in many ways.

But it makes sense when we look at these movements through the prism of the Netherlands’ “blue-red” culture war. Read more

Parties Take Sides in Netherlands’ Culture War

Dutch defense minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert greets residents of Mazar, Afghanistan, March 9, 2015
Dutch defense minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert greets residents of Mazar, Afghanistan, March 9, 2015 (Ministerie van Defensie/Eva Klijn)

A debate on Sunday between the top female candidates of the five biggest political parties in the Netherlands revealed that the old left-right divide is giving way to something new. Read more