Tuesday , May 24 2022
Home / Project Syndicate / The Political Center Does Have Meaning

The Political Center Does Have Meaning

Summary:
Centrist politicians accept some ideas from the left and some from the right, making it all too easy to dismiss them as unprincipled cynics. But not only can centrism represent a distinct set of ideas; it is also necessary for protecting democracy against populist authoritarianism. SANTIAGO – Can the political center hold any meaning? That question has gained new urgency as politics becomes more polarized in the United States, Chile, the Philippines, India, and many other countries. What the US Misunderstands About Russia Peter Klaunzer/Pool/Keystone via Getty Images PS Commentators' Predictions for 2022 PS OnPoint

Topics:
Andres Velasco considers the following as important:

This could be interesting, too:

Sam Abbott writes Child care costs are going to rise, but policymakers can help U.S. families manage these increases

Peter J. Fugiel writes New research shows unstable schedules do not offer more flexibility for U.S. workers

Simon Wren-lewis writes When did things go wrong, 2010 or 1979?

FT Alphaville writes Further reading

Centrist politicians accept some ideas from the left and some from the right, making it all too easy to dismiss them as unprincipled cynics. But not only can centrism represent a distinct set of ideas; it is also necessary for protecting democracy against populist authoritarianism.

SANTIAGO – Can the political center hold any meaning? That question has gained new urgency as politics becomes more polarized in the United States, Chile, the Philippines, India, and many other countries.

In a recent Project Syndicate commentary, political scientist Jan-Werner Mueller delivers a categorical verdict: No. Exhibits A and B in his case are Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, the two Democratic senators who have frustrated US President Joe Biden’s ambitious spending plans. They are not so much centrist as self-centered, Mueller argues, guided only by the imperative of getting re-elected. Theirs is a “zombie centrism,” devoid of any meaning.

But assessing the state of centrism by focusing on this pair’s antics is like studying mountains by looking only at what Martin Luther King, Jr. called “the molehills of Mississippi.” A glance at the “the mighty mountains of New York” or “the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado” would be more revealing.

True, the political center is hardly full of towering leaders nowadays. But it still offers enough ground, both in theory and in practice, to build a vastly better alternative to the populism that now rules too many countries. It is the antidote to the post-truth polarization that dominates social media and electoral politics.

Mueller allows for only two kinds of centrism. The first he labels procedural, but a better label is pragmatic: when confronted with fragmented political systems, it is the centrists who anchor negotiations and create the conditions for a workable compromise. Such centrism is necessary but uninspiring. Purely pragmatic centrists leave themselves open to the old charge that they, like economists, know the price...

Andres Velasco
Papá orgulloso de Rosa, Ema y Gaspar y feliz marido de @consuelosaav. Embajador @Hay_Mujeres

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *