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Seizing the Center

The international press has had a hard time labeling the political positions of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, though most seem to have settled on “centrist.” While that choice is understandable, it minimizes the extent to which a political movement of the center, like Macron's, must have its own distinct ideas.

SANTIAGO – The international press is having a hard time labeling the political positions of Emmanuel Macron, the winner of the first round presidential ballot in France. Some have called him liberal; others, moderate; most finally settled on centrist.

The choice is understandable, but not without problems. It suggests a mere midpoint, as if the ideas of the center were just a combination of right and left. In fact, successful centrist political movements belong to what sociologist Anthony Giddens called the radical center: they are ideologically intense and have distinct ideas of their own.

Macron and other liberals, like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, or the new party Ciudadanos in Spain, are still in the process of defining what they stand for. Here is my take on what a modern liberal and centrist political agenda should include.

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