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.
In City-Country Imbalance, Don’t Focus Only on the Left Behind
Janan Ganesh warns in the Financial Times against looking at the city-countryside imbalance exclusively through the lens of the places that have been left behind.
As a moral proposition, this is right, he argues: “the weakest first.” But as a reading of how politics will unfold over time, it could be the wrong way around:
The anger that poor regions feel for the rampant metropolis — that Pas-de-Calais feels for Paris, that Indiana feels for New York — might turn out to weigh less than the grievances that flow in the opposite direction.
City dwellers may at some point decide they have had enough of subsidizing provincials who vote against their heathen ways from a distance. “Call it representation without taxation.” Read more
DUP Pact Makes It Harder for May to Win Back Middle England
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
French Presidential Election Reveals a Divided Nation
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