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February 07, 2017

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Or the Liberals feared the rise of actual-left parties. Which would actually be a threat to them. Fascist fringe would draw from their opponents.

That's almost certainly part of the calculation, but it's just a subset of caring about the Liberals rather than liberalism, no? Unless they're worried about the rise of unpalatable left parties, sort of like Die Linke in Germany.

That's certainly plausible, but it didn't happen in New Zealand. The Liberals and NDP are pretty left-wing --- Bernie Sanders would be smack in the mainstream of either --- and I'm not sure that there's a whole lot of demand for parties further to the left.

In theory the rise of smaller fringe parties could have the result of shifting politics to the right, by making Conservative-Liberal grand coalitions more common.

That didn't happen in New Zealand either, however, and Canada could head it off with a system of multi-member constituencies. The result would be a system a bit like Spain. There two giant new parties have been able to disrupt the party system, but smaller fringe parties aren't really relevant.

Individual Liberal MPs would have to vote for it. The single interest group most badly affected is low-ranking Liberal MPs, as the bottom 10% are absolutely guaranteed not to have a job.

This killed the prospects for PR under Labour in the UK.

There is a path where the Liberals and the Conservatives would both have an incentive to pass PR. If it appeared possible a radical fringe party could control the government with a plurality, all other parties would have an incentive to require majority coalitions.

My understanding is that was the historical motivation for many mainstream European parties supporting PR.

Having fringe alt-right parties is far preferable to letting the fringe alt-right take over a major party, which is what we got in the US. Either way you could get a coalition between fascists and mainstream conservatives (see Weimar Germany), but at least in the latter case everyone can see what is going on.

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