Raymond A. Smith

What If the US Had a Multiparty System Like Germany’s?

With the U.S. still barely recovered from to al partisan gridlock and political dysfunction, Germany has once again formed a “grand coalition” bringing together the two main center-right and center-left parties, which collectively won more than 70% of the vote in last September’s parliamentary elections. The biggest sticking point? Figuring out the best mechanism for… Read more »

Nelson Mandela: (Almost) the Last of the Lions

The passing of Nelson Mandela marks nearly the end of the generation of great leaders who presided over the astonishing half-decade of 1989-1994, when the post-World War II status quo came to a resounding and surprisingly bloodless conclusion with the collapse of Communism in Europe and Apartheid in South Africa. The death of Margaret Thatcher… Read more »

How Belgium Survived 20 Months Without a Government

If you think a few days of “government shutdown” in the U.S. is bad, consider that in 2010-2011, Belgium had a political crisis that prevented formation of a government for 589 days. What may be most surprising, though, is that the Belgians found a way to keep their government programs and services running without serious… Read more »

The NYC Primary and the 2012 Republican Race

The Democratic primary race for New York City mayor has begun increasingly resembling, of all things, the 2012 Republican presidential primaries, featuring an unsettled and unenthusiastic electorate, a bevy of flawed candidates, and a new frontrunner seeming to emerge weekly. Ideologically, the Republican candidates in 2012 and the NYC Democrats are polar opposites. But the… Read more »

Immigration Reform and the Growing Asian-American Vote

The poor showing of the G.O.P. among Latino voters in 2012 is the political subtext for much of the immigration debate in Congress this week. But Republicans also need to consider the impact of their words and deeds on the nation’ s fastest growing demographic: Asian-American voters, who are at least as invested in the… Read more »