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 decide elections; it are reasonable people in the middle. Better to muddle through than to veer to extremes.
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 mid-term 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
Democrats Should Campaign for Dutch-Style Health Reforms
The other day, I explained that the reason Americans can’t get a European-style health-care system is not opposition from insurance companies but the fears of 155 million Americans who currently get health insurance through their employers. They worry that a single-payer system, like Britain’s, would mean higher taxes and lower-quality care.
Such fears — largely unfounded — would undoubtedly be amplified by drug companies, health providers and insurance companies if the Democrats campaigned for “Medicare for all”.
So instead of having an abstract, and probably pointless, debate about which health-care system is superior, why not look at what advocates of single-payer hope to achieve and see if this can’t be done without eliminating private insurance? Read more
Don’t Force Catalans to Choose Between Independence and the Status Quo
Last night I wrote that time is running out to avoid a constitutional crisis in Spain. The Catalans are determined to hold an independence referendum in October; the central government in Madrid is determined to prevent one.
This seems to be a case of an unstoppable force meeting an unmovable object, but there may still be a way out. Read more