Europe’s blue-red culture war pits cosmopolitan, college-educated, urban voters with liberal economic and social views against inward-looking, lower-educated voters in small towns and the countryside who resist change.
Globalization Boosts Some Regions, Marginalizes Others
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
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
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