At a time of political polarization and upheaval in the West, the Atlantic Sentinel believes that the center can hold. It are not the fanatics on either side who get things done; it are reasonable people in the middle. Better to muddle through than to veer to extremes.
Mainstream Parties Win Dutch Elections, Catalans to Swear In President
The far-right Freedom Party and the far-left Socialists underperformed in municipal elections in the Netherlands on Wednesday.
The ruling liberals and Christian Democrats shared first place. Both got 13 percent support.
Local parties took 33 percent of the vote, up from 28 percent four years ago.
The Greens gained at the expense of Labor and the liberal Democrats, especially in the major cities. Although they are still counting the votes in Amsterdam, the Greens are expected to overtake the liberal Democrats as the largest party there.
Cosmopolitan, left-leaning voters probably switched because they are disappointed the liberal Democrats went into government with three right-wing parties.
The outcome is nevertheless unlikely to destabilize Mark Rutte’s government, which includes the small Christian Union. Read more
No Shock Therapy: Macri Takes Gradual Approach to Reform
Argentina’s Mauricio Macri and his coalition have reasserted their position as the party of government following last month’s midterm elections. The first conservative to win the presidency since democracy was restored in 1983, his supporters won majorities in thirteen out of 23 provinces. They have also taken charge of five of the most populous districts in the capital Buenos Aires.
Yet Macri’s party, Cambiemos (Let’s Change), still doesn’t have a majority in Congress, which helps explain his step-by-step approach to reforming the economy. Read more
Democrats who are wary of toning down their identity politics can take heart from Tuesday’s election results in Virginia.
Ed Gillespie, formerly a center-right Republican who adopted the race-baiting tactics of Donald Trump, lost to middle-of-the-road — not Bernie Sanders-style populist — Democrat Ralph Northam with 45 to 54 percent support.
Bob Marshall, the author of the state’s failed “bathroom bill”, was defeated by Danica Roem, the first openly transgender state senator elected in American history.
Preliminary analysis suggests Gillespie failed to boost Republican turnout in the sort of left-behind places that threw their support behind Trump in 2016 and lost votes in affluent suburbs that have increasingly leaned Democratic. Read more
German Election Shows Stabilizing Effect of Multiparty Democracy
The headline-grapping news from Germany this weekend was the return of the far right, which won back seats in the national parliament for the first time since 1961.
But the bigger — and more reassuring — story of the election was the fragmentation of the German political landscape.
The Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, once faraway the two largest parties, won only 56 percent of the seats combined. A record seven parties (counting the Bavarian Christian Social Union separately) crossed the 5-percent election threshold. Four parties will probably be needed to form a coalition government — another first in postwar German history.
This might look like instability at first, but it actually underscores the resilience of multiparty democracy. Read more