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Can the Center Hold Any Meaning?

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PRINCETON – US President Joe Biden’s ambitious “Build Back Better” plan has been stalled and pared by two Democratic senators, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who are regularly described as “centrists.” Plenty of observers have wondered what this label actually means in 2021. It is not only cynics who suspect that these figures are not so much centrist as self-centered, guided only by the imperative of getting re-elected.

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    By what criteria are centrists to be judged? That question has become urgent not only in the United States but also in France, where President Emmanuel Macron, having promised to build a new center in French politics, will seek re-election next spring. As with the two US senators, critics see Macron’s centrism as a smokescreen for a politician who effectively does the bidding of the right, warranting the label “the........

    © Project Syndicate

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