Goodbye to the Extremes

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Jul 07, 5:02 PM |

By Peter Schechter

Writing in El Pais, Altamar co-host Muni Jensen sees hope for the future of centrism and pragmatism in politics.

“There are some signs that it is becoming ‘sexy’ again to be moderate, to reject populism, radicalism, xenophobia and nationalism,” she writes. “Perhaps it’s a bit early to declare the death of extremism, but there are important signs.

The clumsy first steps of the Trump administration, the recent defeats of the Euroskeptic parties in Europe, the disaster of Brexit, the chaos of the left in Venezuela, Argentina’s pivot to moderation, and including Ecuador, and most recently the triumph of French President Emmanuel Macron over the ultra-right Marine le Pen, seems to indicate that a global political realignment might be taking place.

Hopefully the alternative will not be to return to the past, the bad habits of traditional politics, with the corruption, abuses of power, and the excesses. But it could be a good moment to dust off the concept of ‘radical center,’ a movement which first emerged in the West at the end of the 20th century, principally in England and the United States. Its foundations, centered on pragmatism, dialogue, free markets, and the empowerment of middle classes, are not concepts of either left or right, and they demand reforms of old and inefficient institutions, respect for the environment, and access to technology and tolerance on social issues. Radical centrism proposes the transformation of existing structures and an overwhelming rejection of demagoguery.”

Read the full article in El Pais in Spanish.

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About the Hosts

Peter Schechter works in both politics and policy. He served as the Atlantic Council’s senior vice president for strategic initiatives and previously co-founded a premier strategic communications company, working as a political campaign advisor in more than 20 countries.  Muni Jensen is a former Colombian diplomat, columnist, and television political commentator.