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I am always been amazed by what type of government elections bring in the western democracies: US, Canada (Federal and Provincial), France, UK, Germany, Israel, etc.

They are bringing strong, weak, minority, autocratic and caretaker governments. These governments are sometimes supported by one party, sometimes by an alliance of parties from similar persuasion or even from opposite persuasions.

Generally these governments oscillate as a POLITICAL PENDULUM between the left (Socialism) and the right (Conservatism) avoiding the extremes: Communism or Fascism.

The resting place of a pendulum is the Center. The Center of the Political Pendulum is generally called Liberalism (do not confuse with the term "liberal" that is left-leaning and is positioned in the triangle above between Liberalism and Socialism, but closer from socialism). Liberalism is the belief in the importance of individual liberty and equal rights. It espouses a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but mostly supports such fundamental ideas as constitutions, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights, capitalism, fair trade, and the separation of church and state.

Each country seems to have a political centre of gravity, the natural point that inevitably the political pendulum returns to time and time again.  Each nation has it's own centre.  For instance, the Canadian centrepoint is different from the US one and the French or British have different ones.

Governments can try to pull the agenda to the left or right, but inevitably, the public debate will return to the centrepoint. It won't swing to the opposite poll.  It will return to that centre. The centre can shift over decades, but only by small degrees.  It might take many years to move significantly.

The graph below illustrates the shift in the US over the last 50 years (In blue the Democrat gains, in red the Republican gains).  The center of the US political pendulum is somewhat left of the line separating Democrats from Republicans for the period of time depicted in the graph.

The Political Cycles in democracies seems to behave as follows:
  1. A party is concerned about a number of issues, but mostly concerned that they don't have much of a voice.
  2. They bind together working very hard to gain political power in a very unified way.
  3. They gain power.
  4. They no longer feel as threatened and start pursuing their own ends, which mutual contradict each other. 
  5. The party infighting weakens the unity and the individual members get unenthusiastic about supporting the party.
  6. The other side, humbled by being kicked out of power, realizes they need to work together and defeat them.
  7. The party loses power.
  8. Go back to step one.
What do you think? What is your experience?  Please comment on this blog.

Note: Comments supporting or criticizing a political party will not be accepted.  We are interested on your views of the Political Pendulum, irrelevant of your party affiliation or the lack thereof.

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