Middle-Aged Men More Right-Wing, Iran Hawk Pompeo Sworn In
Lyman Stone writes in The American Interest that in both Germany and the United States (and I imagine in other Western democracies too, but I only know for sure about the Netherlands), men are more likely to vote for the far right than women. Middle-aged men in particular.
Stone volunteers various explanations:
Changes in the global economy have systematically disfavored historically male-dominated industries.
Men are more likely to take a protective or defensive view of nationhood.
Men are pulled toward more radical politics of many varieties and just happen to be ticked off at their former political home.
Stone also finds that support for Germany’s Alternative was lower in those parts of the former East Germany that were Prussian before communism and highest in Saxony, a state with a long history of radical politics.
“Radicalism, the appeal of revolutionary protest politics, is less about coherent policy platforms,” he argues, “and more about the appeal of mob, tribe and movement.” Read more
Rutte Cornered on Tax Cut, Why France and Germany Treat Trump Differently
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is in trouble.
When his latest government, a coalition of Christian and liberal parties, came to power in October, he claimed there was no paperwork to support its contention that the Netherlands needed to eliminate dividend tax altogether in order to remain competitive. Now it turns out the Finance Ministry did write a series of memos on the topic — and doubted the tax played a major role in multinationals’ decisionmaking.
The Finance Ministry produces a lot of memos when political parties are negotiating to form a government, so it is possible that Rutte didn’t see this one.
Except this was by far the most controversial policy of the new government. None of the governing parties had promised to cut dividend tax in their manifestos. There had been no public debate about it.
The suspicion in The Hague is that Rutte’s former employer, Unilever, and Royal Dutch Shell lobbied to get the tax removed.
Opposition parties have already called on Rutte to step down. That is unlikely. Prime minister since 2010, Rutte has a knack for talking his way out of problems and the ruling parties have no incentive to force him out. Read more
Italy’s Democrats Split, EU Victory for Macron, Doubts About Syria Strikes
Italy’s Democrats are split on whether to negotiate with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.
At a party meeting on Tuesday, former ministers Dario Franceschini and Andrea Orlando argued for coalition talks.
The alternative, a Five Star government with the xenophobic (Northern) League, would make Italy look “like Hungary,” Franceschini said.
However, centrists loyal to the outgoing leader, Matteo Renzi, reject a deal.
Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio has said it is time to “bury the hatchet”. His talks with the League have not been going well. But the Five Stars still call for overturning Renzi’s signature labor reforms, which made it easier for firms to fire and hire workers. Read more
Negotiations for Labor Reform Break Down in Netherlands
Labor negotiations between employers’ organizations and trade unions have broken down in the Netherlands.
Both sides blame the other, but employers had the bigger incentive to let the talks collapse.
Without a deal, it will be up to the next government to impose reforms and the four parties negotiating to form a government are center-right. They are expected to enact more employer- than worker-friendly changes. Read more
Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the rising popularity of the National Front in France have all been explained as working-class revolts against urban, liberal elites (including by me.)
The Niskanen Center’s Brink Lindsey argues in The American Interest that this isn’t quite right. These democratic expressions of discontent should rather be understood as the convulsions of a working class that is dying. Read more