by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
“Across Europe and North America, centrists are the least supportive of democracy, the least committed to its institutions and the most supportive of authoritarianism.” So writes political researcher David Adler in the New York Times, based on analysis of responses to two multicountry “values surveys.”
Adler finds that centrists are less likely to regard democracy as “very good” and to consider free elections and protecting liberties from state oppression “essential” features of democracy. His study is subject to criticism, notably that his classification of centrists is overbroad, but it contains at least a kernel of truth.
Which is that the most vitriolic critics of electoral decisions in recent years around the world have been long identified — and celebrated — as centrists. They have been arguing that extremists, mostly on the Right, are undermining the foundations of democracy. Democracy, in their view, is becoming dangerously undemocratic.
That is the essence of much of the #Resistance in this country to President Trump. His election was the result of a handful of Russian-sponsored Facebook ads. His complaints about the press (vulgarly phrased, but otherwise similar to many other presidents’) are seen as a prelude to shutting it down. Hillary Clinton’s election-season denunciation of those unwilling to accept an election result has given way to nonstop whining from someone who bridles at accepting an election result.
Similarly, in Britain, former Prime Minister Tony Blair has refused to accept the June 2016 Brexit referendum, in which more voters supported leaving the European Union than have ever voted for any party. Blair is looking for the House of Lords and the courts to force a revote.