New Political Party in Britain, Room for Party in Germany

View of the Palace of Westminster in London, England
View of the Palace of Westminster in London, England (Unsplash/Simon Mason)

Anti-Brexit campaigners have launched a new political party in the United Kingdom: Renew.

The party aims to be a “vehicle for people who feel politically homeless,” said James Clarke, one of its three co-leaders.

EurActiv reports that the party claims to have more than 450 applications from candidates to run for the 650-seat House of Commons.

Britain’s first-past-the-post system doesn’t make it easy for newcomers. The last time a major party broke through was in the 1920s, when Labour overtook the Liberals as the largest party on the left.

But the Conservatives and Labour have left the center wide open, the former by embracing the reactionary cause of Brexit, the latter by electing the far-left Jeremy Corbyn as leader. Somebody was bound to try to fill that hole. Read more

Gun and Immigration Debates Entrench Tribal Divisions in United States

View of the United States Capitol from the Washington Monument in Washington DC, March 18, 2011
View of the United States Capitol from the Washington Monument in Washington DC, March 18, 2011 (MudflapDC)

Ronald Brownstein writes in The Atlantic that Republicans in his country have become a “coalition of restoration”: older, blue-collar, evangelical and non-urban whites most uneasy about the tectonic cultural and economic forces reshaping American life. Republican lawmakers represent those areas with the most guns and the fewest immigrants.

Democrats, by contrast, rely on a heavily urbanized “coalition of transformation”: minorities, millennials and college-educated and secular white voters, especially women. Democratic voters have fewer guns and live in places with more immigrants.

We can see a similar divide in Europe. On the one hand, inward-looking, typically lower-educated voters living in small towns and the countryside; on the other, cosmopolitan college graduates living in the big cities. Read more

In Tribal America, Power Trumps Economics

American president Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, arrive at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017
American president Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, arrive at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017 (White House/Shealah Craighead)

Immediately after Donald Trump’s election in late 2016, Republican voters in the United States changed their mind about the economy. Whereas only 16 percent said the economy was improving under Barack Obama, 49 percent felt that way once Trump had won the election.

Gallup finds the same is true at the state level. Deep-red Montana and Wyoming have switched from least to most optimistic. California, Hawaii, Maryland and Rhode Island — four of the most Democratic states in the country — were among the top states in 2016. Now they rank below average. Read more

Speech Is Action: Why We Should Pay Attention to What Trump Says

Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, December 11, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, December 11, 2015 (Clay Masters)

The Niskanen Center’s Jacob T. Levy makes the same argument I did a few days ago, which is that Donald Trump’s words matter.

Except he does it more elegantly. Read more

Trump, Tanks and Late Imperialism

American soldiers rehearse the inaugural parade of Donald Trump in Washington DC, January 15, 2017
American soldiers rehearse the inaugural parade of Donald Trump in Washington DC, January 15, 2017 (USAF/Brian Ferguson)

Donald Trump wants to see tanks rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue. He couldn’t get a military parade for his inauguration, but, after attending the Bastille Day celebrations in France, the American is determined to get one this year.

“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” an official told The Washington Post.

Of course, this is primarily about Trump overcompensating for his insecurities by wrapping himself in the American flag. (Literally, look what he did to the Oval Office.)

But it also says something about this moment in American history. Read more

Party of Conspiracy Theorists

American president Donald Trump makes an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 24, 2017
American president Donald Trump makes an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 24, 2017 (Michael Vadon)

Damon Linker wonders what’s worse: that Republicans believe the FBI was doing the bidding of the Democratic Party by using opposition research funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign to get a court order to approve surveillance of a Donald Trump campaign advisor, Carter Page — or that they are only pretending to believe it in order to whip the Republican electorate into a conspiracy-addled froth of indignation against the legitimacy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation? Read more

Trump Supporters Reject Choice, Tradeoffs

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a speech in Phoenix, Arizona, October 29, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a speech in Phoenix, Arizona, October 29, 2016 (Gage Skidmore)

Two recent stories have similar takes on what motivated millions of Americans to vote for Donald Trump:

  • Masha Gessen draws on Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom (1941) to argue in The New York Review of Books that Trump’s supporters are overwhelmed by freedom of choice and would rather cede agency to a strongman. Hence Trump’s obsession with those who embody choice: immigrants and transgenders.
  • Adam Garfinkle and Aviezer Tucker argue more specifically in The American Interest that it is a complex reality Trump’s fans wish to escape from: Read more