Welcome to the weekend – be sure to check back tomorrow at noon for our latest Senate rankings!
But first, there is a general election this weekend in Iceland. Iceland is a nation of 330K in the North Atlantic, roughly the size of Kentucky in area. It is a wealthy nation with cultural ties to Europe, especially Scandinavia. It has a political spectrum ranging from hardcore leftists to pro-business centrists, with the latter historically dominant. Iceland’s 63-member Althing (the best parliament name in the world IMO) is elected by proportional representation in 6 multi-member constituencies, with parties that cross 5% getting bonus seats to make the end result fully proportional. The current government was an unstable 3-party coalition that collapsed amid a personal scandal involving the PM’s father (though that is mostly thought to be a convenient cover story for deeper ideology and personality tension between the coalition members). Iceland has seven major parties in the current parliament, with an as many as eight set to enter this year. The largest party in the outgoing parliament is Independence, a mainstream center-right party very similar to the British Tories in its fiscal conservatism, mild nationalism, and social moderation. Independence habitually pulls around a quarter to a third of the vote, and is in a tie for the largest party again this time. Independence may be usurped as the largest party this year by the Left-Green movement, which as you might guess is a fairly typical far-left eco-communist group. The Left-Greens surged dramatically this year and seem likely to take a quarter of the vote. The other large party of the left is the Pirates, one of two (with the Czech Republic) truly successful members of a global family of hipsterish left-libertarian parties that sprung up around 2010 focusing on civil liberties. The Pirates seem likely to retain their position as the third largest party, polling in the low double-digits. The traditional party of the left and the most mainstream center-left group, the Social Democrats, were decimated by the Left-Greens and Pirates in the last election last year, but seem likely to rebound somewhat to around 10%. Also polling in the 10% range is the junior coalition partner, the agrarian-centrist Progressives, who tend to be an amorphous rent-seeking party for rural interests. The Progressives have been hurt by a leadership dispute that has birthed a new, similar party in the Centre party. As you might guess, it seems to be shaping up as an amorphous centrist party, but has been successful, taking around 10% in polling. There are also three parties that may or may not enter parliament. A new party, the People’s Party, was polling above the threshhold but has fallen into 5%, on-the-bubble territory; they are a nationalist-populist group, though their exact ideology is still ill-defined. The final two parties are both European Economist-style liberal groups, Bright Future and Reform. The main difference between the two is that Bright Future was part of the government (its exit is what brought the election) while Reform was not. Both did well last year but have struggled since. Bright Future in particular is almost certain to be boxed out, and Reform has a chance (but not a great one) to hit the 5% needed to enter parliament. Overall, CW seems to be betting on a left-wing coalition taking power, probably a Left-Green/Pirate/Social Democrat group, though an Independence/Progressive/Centre coalition continuing may be possible as well.
Now this week’s question:
In 2 sentences or less, how would you define yourself ideologically?
And because it’s the weekend, we give an ad from the Democrat with the most cash on hand in VA-10 HERE!