In Defense of Democratic Centrism

Former American secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York attend a political event in New York City, April 4, 2016
Former American secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York attend a political event in New York City, April 4, 2016 (Hillary for America/Barbara Kinney)

In Current Affairs magazine, Nathan J. Robinson takes issue with the centrism of America’s Democratic Party.

The idea that Democrats can win elections by reminding progressives they have nowhere else to go and reassuring conservatives they won’t go after big business is a dead end, according to Robinson:

For one thing, it doesn’t work. Unless you have Bill Clinton’s special charismatic magic, what actually happens is that progressive voters just stay home, disgusted at the failure of both parties to actually try to improve the country.

This is the left-wing version of the Ted Cruz philosophy: that you can win national elections by mobilizing your base instead of appealing to the center.

The evidence (PDF) is against it. (Also see Scott Alexander.)

A few fanatics might hold out if Democrats nominate too centrist a candidate, like Hillary Clinton, but the majority will make the rational decision and vote for the lesser of two evils, as many Bernie Sanders supporters did in November. Read more

Dutch Liberal, Christian Parties Start Talks to Form Government

Former Dutch finance minister Gerrit Zalm speaks at an event in Rotterdam, March 10, 2016
Former Dutch finance minister Gerrit Zalm speaks at an event in Rotterdam, March 10, 2016 (Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest)

Parties in the Netherlands have asked former finance minister Gerrit Zalm to lead negotiations for forming a government, signaling their seriousness to do a deal before the start of the fiscal year in September. Read more

After Landslide, Macron’s Challenge Lies in Forgotten France

French president Emmanuel Macron greets Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, France, June 16
French president Emmanuel Macron greets Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, France, June 16 (La Moncloa)

French president Emmanuel Macron has won a comfortable majority for his centrist party, La République En Marche, but low turnout points to the difficult task ahead: convincing the less prosperous half of France to give him a chance. Read more

Both Conservatives and Labour Have Left the Center Wide Open

British prime minister Theresa May speaks during an international conference about Somalia in London, England, May 11
British prime minister Theresa May speaks during an international conference about Somalia in London, England, May 11 (DoD/Jette Carr)

Before Labour started to catch up with her in the polls, it seemed Theresa May could have it both ways. Read more

Emmanuel Macron Elected President of France

French presidential candidates Emmanuel Macron is seen behind the scenes of a television program, April 9
French presidential candidates Emmanuel Macron is seen behind the scenes of a television program, April 9 (Facebook)
  • Emmanuel Macron, France’s centrist former economy minister, defeated Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, in Sunday’s presidential election with 66 to 34 percent support.
  • Macron is slated to be inaugurated as the eighth president of the Fifth Republic next week. He will serve a five-year term. Read more

Dutch Relieved After Mainstream Parties Win Curaçao Election

The old harbor of Willemstad, Curaçao seen from a bus, December 24, 2007
The old harbor of Willemstad, Curaçao seen from a bus, December 24, 2007 (Gail Frederick)

Former prime minister Gerrit Schotte has lost the election on Curaçao, avoiding a standoff with the European Netherlands, which is loath to work with the corrupt politician.

Schotte’s populist Movement for the Future of Curaçao (MFK) gained one seat in the island’s legislature on Friday, winning five seats altogether, but the mainstream parties did better.

The liberal Party for the Restructured Antilles (PAR) and the social democratic Partido MAN won a majority between them. They can now govern alone, although they may add one or two small parties to round out a coalition. Read more

Center-Right Parties Expected to Form Government in Netherlands

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte joins a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, January 20, 2016
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte joins a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, January 20, 2016 (European Parliament)

Center-right parties are expected to dominate the next coalition government in the Netherlands.

If the exit poll released on Wednesday night turns out to be correct, the ruling liberal party of Mark Rutte would come close to finding a majority in the next parliament with the likeminded liberal Democrats and Christian Democrats. Read more