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Dr. Krugman just linked to this article on Bloomberg from his blog.

It starts: "Towns and villages are putting up statues and naming streets after Miklos Horthy, a former head of state who led the country into World War II on Adolf Hitler’s side."

That doesn't sound good.

We're all familiar by now with the rise of Syriza, the leftist party in Greece who has come to the forefront of popularity in the face of terrible decision-making by the two mainstream parties in that country.

And we've seen in Spain how both the left and right-of-center parties have blindly followed the diktats of Brussels and Berlin into every deepening fiscal mismanagement, something that is now putting the country (and, indeed, the entire Eurozone) into a state of serious danger.

And we saw the same thing in Ireland, where both mainstream parties simply promised voters more of the same.

As this blogger, also linked by Krugman, points out:

The first is that the extremes are gaining in Europe because centrist parties are offering voters no meaningful choices. Pasok and ND are an egregious example, but the same is true in all the other programme countries, and to a lesser extent in other countries as well. So if you want to vote against the status quo policies, you have no alternative but to vote for Syriza, or whomever.
The danger of European voters choosing extremist parties over their mainstreams is quite real. (Though, granted, Syriza has not advanced a program anywhere near as threatening as, say, a neo-Nazi Greek party like Golden Dawn.) In Hungary, where Fidesz continues to move to the right and press forward on its drive toward single-party authoritarianism, it might have already happened.

It's also worthwhile, I think, to reflect on the situation here in the U.S. under the same light.

We've got two mainstream parties, both strong advocates of Globalization and deregulated capitalism, both very strong advocates of militarism, both having a hard time resisting their impulses when it comes to use of government power to watch, detain and even torture and kill American citizens.

Yes -- we have options in our upcoming election. 1) Mitt Romney, who I suspect might do something like attack another country with nuclear weapons shortly after election as a sort of juvenile prank, and 2) Barack Obama, who -- well -- isn't Mitt Romney.

But I wonder if the long-term political health of our country isn't being damaged somewhat ...

But the sense in the minds of voters that both parties present the same vision of the future to them. In the U.S., we can't have a viable third party, because of the way the Constitution has set up our government and elections. So, we don't vote for extremist parties as an alternative.

We simply stay at home.

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