Spain’s liberal Citizens party needs to decide what it’s for: fighting the Catalan independence movement or liberalizing Spain?
The party clearly doesn’t know, which is causing it to go back and forth on possible coalition deals. Albert Rivera, the party leader, needs to make a choice and stick with it. Read more
Trying to Turn Republicans into Liberals Is Now Hopeless
David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, argues in The Atlantic that the Republican Party should become the party of liberalism in the United States.
As the Democrats move to left on economic policy, there is room for a party that defends free markets, free trade, limited government and personal liberty.
I agree, and before Donald Trump I was optimistic that the Republican Party could move in this direction. I called it Republican Party 2.0.
On the eve of the 2016 election, when I was still confident Hillary Clinton would win, I even urged Republicans to purge Trump’s insurgents and return the party to its pre-Newt Gingrich center-right bearings.
But then Trump won and now Republicans have surrendered to him and his philosophy. Read more
Three Reasons Liberals Need to Look Left, Not Right, for Allies
Leonardo Carella, an expert on Italian politics, argues that, strategically and policy-wise, pro-market liberals now have more in common with social democrats than they do with conservatives.
The liberal Citizens party has risen to the top of the polls in Spain, receiving 26-27 percent support in two recent surveys against 23-25 percent for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative People’s Party.
Support for the mainstream Socialists is unchanged at 22 percent while the far-left Podemos has gone down from 21 to 15 percent since the last election. Read more
Emmanuel Macron: Free Trader or Protectionist?
Is Emmanuel Macron a free trader? Or a traditional French protectionist?
Probably somewhere in between: more liberal than his recent predecessors, but not the libertarian some of his admirers were hoping for.
Nicholas Vinocur lists the complaints against Macron, as well as the arguments in his favor, at Politico. Read more
Liberal Free Democrats Would Keep Merkel Sharp
There is little doubt Angela Merkel will win reelection in Germany on Sunday. Her Christian Democrats are projected to win up to 40 percent support against 25 percent for the second party, the Social Democrats.
The two could continue to share power in a “grand coalition”, but we’re hoping the liberal Free Democrats will win enough seats to help form a center-right government instead.
Polls suggest that the two parties might just fall short of a majority. Conservative and liberal voters who want to keep the left out of power ought to give the Free Democrats their support. Read more
Macron’s Liberalization Has Made Travel More Affordable in France
Emmanuel Macron’s liberalization of intercity public transport in France is paying off.
Until 2015, railroads had a monopoly on domestic ground routes of 100 kilometers or more. Macron — then economy minister, now president — wrote legislation that allowed busses to compete.
Bloomberg reports that 6.2 million passengers took a long-distance bus in 2016 and bookings are up another 25 percent this year.
That’s still a fraction of the more than 100 million annual high-speed train passengers, but competition from busses is forcing the state-owned railway to cut rates. Read more