Beyond (this) democracy I: The end of centrist politics

A fundamental crisis

We are faced with an increasing understanding that the Western post-War model of organising democracy and the market is in fundamental crisis:

Transformative vs. incremental: An unseen rift divides the political landscape

Many analysts of today’s political landscape argue that left and right have lost their meaning in an increasingly volatile and fragmented political environment. Commentators now focus on the divide between cosmopolitan and communitarian. This perspective needs to be broadened, to encompass the rift between proponents of transformative versus incremental change. As in the case of communitarian and cosmopolitan worldviews, the perspective on radical versus incremental change runs counter to the lines of party membership, left and right.

Transformative politics will become centrist politics

Considering the global ecological, social, and economic environment, it seems reasonable to predict that centrist politics cannot stick to this approach. Either, the global political dynamic will drive centrist parties to include transformative thinking and doing into their repertoire. Or, as the last years’ events illustrate, new political forces will replace parties of the political centre at an ever greater pace. At the same time, political newcomers usually have neither the systemic capability nor the voters’ trust to implement the far-reaching measures it takes to replace the current, rapid disintegration of Western democracies with a meaningful democratic reintegration that systemically addresses the challenges sketched out above. The inclusion of transformative perspectives into the centrist political agenda thus seems absolutely vital. After all, it is the knowledge and expertise of centrist parties that is needed to efficiently implement radical reform. This expertise could be key for the transformation of democracy.



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