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Seth Klein @SethDKlein
, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
This week the over-the-top fear-mongering of the NO side in the electoral reform referendum stepped over the line, hopefully doing some major damage to their credibility. Here’s a thread debunking the oft-repeated claim that #ProRep will enable far-right extremists #pr4bc #bcpoli
Under FPTP (the system we use), we have seen far-right parties not just win seats, but outright win gvt. Witness Trump (who lost popular vote 2 Clinton, and has Alt-Right elements in his White House) or BJP in India (an extreme Hindu nationalist party that won gvt w/ 31% of vote)
Or witness recent CND examples such as Doug Ford (who won w/ 40% of vote), and most recently Legault’s CAQ in Quebec (won gvt w/ 38% of vote, campaigning on anti-immigrant platform). Both new premiers express their willingness 2 invoke notwithstanding clause to override courts.
Point is: no electoral system has a monopoly on either fostering or preventing the rise of far-right parties. And any claim otherwise is just cherry-picking examples.
More to the point, if we are worried about the rise of far-right anti-immigration tendencies, and we should be, then focus on that, and the economic policies that encourage this alienation, hate and xenophobia.
Is there a disturbing rise in far right in Europe right now? Yes. But it is not about their electoral systems. Europe is facing the largest refugee crisis since WWII. This in the wake of years of neo-liberal economic policies & austerity that have deepened inequality.
This confluence of factors has created a toxic stew for the far-right – of the same sort Trump capitalized upon. Indeed, many of the far-right parties in Europe are inspired and emboldened by the Trump victory (which again, happened under a FPTP system).
The good news: while far-right parties in Europe have seen some electoral gains in recent years, in almost every case, these parties remain politically isolated. Their main political “influence” has been to unite all other parties against them.
But we don’t stop these abhorrent tendencies by sticking with FPTP and pretending they don’t exist. If these tendencies exist, they will find political expression one way or another. If they can’t live in their own fringe parties, they live in our “big tent” conservative parties.
And sometimes the far-right gets dog-whistled to by these larger parties. Far better to know what we are dealing with than wonder how much influence they wield in other parties.
Historical note: after WWII, when allies occupied Germany and were free to institute any electoral system they wanted, the US & UK notably chose not to institute their own FPTP systems. Instead they chose pro rep. They did so with an eye to avoiding history repeating.
My advice–trust the values of British Columbians. Those values are, in the main, good and caring. When we liberate BCers to vote their values through pro rep, the outcome will serve us all well.
I wrote more debunking this argument last July, which you can find here:… #bcpoli #pr4bc
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