Happy Germans Vote for the Center, Other Europeans Drawn to Extremes

A sunny day in Frankfurt, Germany, January 17, 2011
A sunny day in Frankfurt, Germany, January 17, 2011 (Flickr/Aeror)

Germans are more centrist and optimistic than most Europeans. The French and the Spanish have yet to feel the economic recovery and are more inclined to vote for parties on the far left and the far right. The Italians are even more pessimistic, yet they remain wary of extremes.

Those are among the findings of a Europe-wide survey conducted by the German Bertelsmann Stiftung.

Here are the figures: Read more

Democrats, Republicans Split on Diversity and Immigration

Visitors at the de Young museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, California, October 16, 2005
Visitors at the de Young museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, California, October 16, 2005 (Thomas Hawk)

Americans overall have very liberal views of immigration, but there is a partisan divide:

  • An NBC News-The Wall Street Journal poll found that more than three-quarters of Democrats, but less than one-third of Republicans, feel comfortable with societal changes that have made the country more diverse.
  • Democrats, only 29 percent of whom are white and Christian anymore, embrace ethnic and religious diversity as central to the American idea. Republicans, nearly three quarters of whom are white and Christian, see these changes as eroding what they believe America to be about.
  • Not surprisingly, Donald Trump’s supporters worry the most. The Pew Research Center found (PDF) that only 39 percent of them agree diversity makes America stronger.
  • Analysis of post-election survey data by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic found that 79 percent of Americans who agree with the statement “Things have changed so much that I often feel like a stranger in my own country” voted for Trump. Read more

Negotiations for Labor Reform Break Down in Netherlands

The port of Rotterdam in the early morning, March 14, 2014
The port of Rotterdam in the early morning, March 14, 2014 (Haaijk)

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

American Views on Immigration Are Still Very Liberal

Children play against the backdrop of the Statue of Liberty in New York City, New York, April 16, 2010
Children play against the backdrop of the Statue of Liberty in New York City, New York, April 16, 2010 (Several Seconds)

Despite the election of a nativist for president, America’s views on immigration are still remarkably liberal, an NBC News poll by SurveyMonkey has found (PDF).

  • 57 percent of Americans believe immigration helps the country more than it hurts. 38 percent believe it hurts more than it helps.
  • Asked about the impact of immigration on their own communities, 75 percent say it has either made no difference or made their communities better. Only 22 percent say it has made their communities worse. Read more

Highlights and Takeaways from the Merkel-Schulz Debate

German chancellor Angela Merkel listens to Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz during a televised debate, September 3
German chancellor Angela Merkel listens to Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz during a televised debate, September 3 (DPA)

German chancellor Angela Merkel debated Martin Schulz, the leader of the Social Democrats, on television tonight. It was the party leaders’ only debate before the election later this month.

Here are my highlights and takeaways. Read more

Everything You Need to Know About the Election in Germany

The Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany
The Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany (Pixabay)

Federal elections will be held in Germany on September 24. Here is everything you need to know about them.

Bottom lines

  • Angela Merkel is almost certain to remain chancellor. The question is, who will join her Christian Democrats in a coalition?
  • The liberal Free Democrats are expected to reenter parliament and would be the Christian Democrats’ first choice. Their economic and fiscal policies overlap. Such a coalition would make Germany a little more Euroskeptic.
  • The Social Democrats are polling in second place, but the combined left is unlikely to win a majority.
  • The far-right Alternative for Germany is projected to win seats for the first time, but it is ignored by the other parties. Read more

Canceling South Korean Trade Deal Would Be a Mistake

South Korean president Moon Jae-in attends a military ceremony in Quantico, Virginia, June 28
South Korean president Moon Jae-in attends a military ceremony in Quantico, Virginia, June 28 (USMC/Rachel Ghadiali)

Various American media report this weekend that President Donald Trump is thinking of canceling a trade agreement with South Korea.

This may be bluster: an attempt to force the South Koreans to make concessions. It’s the way Trump “negotiates”.

But if he makes good on this threat, it would be another self-inflicted wound for American commerce and a setback for America’s strategy in East Asia. Read more