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In Donald Trump, Democrats Have a “Very Useful Idiot”

| July 7, 2015

donald trump gop nancy smith

Donald Trump, looking for a clue. (iprimages)

I told myself I wasn’t going to write about Donald Trump again this year. I told myself he’s plain not worth the attention, that he naturally carries enough snuff in his candle to blow himself out of the presidential race somewhere on the road to Iowa. And besides, if I write about him, it means at least on some level, I take him seriously.

Then all of a sudden I look up and Trump is at 12 percent in Republican presidential polls. Twelve percent. That’s more than it looks, when you consider the Republicans have a round dozen announced primary candidates. Twelve percent puts Trump second to Jeb Bush.

It means conservatives in some states actually pick Donald Trump over Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, every GOP candidate running for the White House.

Why? What is the Donald’s mystique? Frankly, I don’t think there is one.

In a Sunday commentary, “Republicans have a Donald Trump problem,” Tim Stanley of The Telegraph writes, “That early polling bump is down to name recognition, amusement and uncertainty about the present field.”

I know. I realize his political celebrity won’t last.

But in the meantime, I think historian and columnist Stanley is 100 percent correct: Trump is going to do no end of harm to GOP presidential election chances as long as he stays in the race.

nancy-smith-beg-to-differ“The campaign is only two weeks old and already (Trump) has declared war on Mexican immigrants,” writes Stanley. “In his announcement speech Trump said, ‘When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.'”

When a CNN reporter asked him how he knew it was Mexicans “doing the crime,” he never backed down but never answered the question either: “Well, somebody’s doing the raping. I mean somebody’s doing it. Who’s doing the raping? Who’s doing the raping?”

My point is, Republicans are regarded poorly enough among Hispanics as it is. Hispanics represent a growing demographic, yet the GOP is falling further behind in winning their vote.

Why? Because the party has an image problem. And it gets worse when somebody like Trump exacerbates the problem, as he did when he called Mexicans rapists.

Said Stanley, “… By shouting so loudly about issues that the Left presumes the Right is obsessed with, Trump becomes a stick with which Democrats can hit Republicans. He is a very useful idiot.”

Click On:

While he stays in the race, Trump will drag the Republican brand down with him, Stanley opines. “It’s harder to have a serious conversation about immigration minus the charge of racism. That’s a tragedy because, in the wake of Ferguson and Charleston, the Right was starting to outflank the Left in its display of concern about race relations.”

Trying to smear his way into office is bad enough. But in other ways, the billionaire TV personality and real estate mogul is about as presidential as Fred Flintstone.

Does America want a president who has filed for corporate bankruptcy four times, in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009? True, all of these bankruptcies were connected to over-leveraged casino and hotel properties in Atlantic City and were completed according to the law. And each time he came out smelling like a rose, financially unscathed, because none of these was a personal bankruptcy.

The problem is, it still feels unwholesome — four is a lot of bankruptcies. Don’t think because Trump didn’t lose, no one lost. American businesses and investors large and small were screwed — gouged — each of the four times.

Trump’s serial Chapter 11 filings may be perfectly acceptable in the wheeler-dealer world of big business, but how many voters would want to see their like in the White House, in the mindset of the leader of the Free World?

“Basically,” explained Trump, “I’ve used the laws of the country to my advantage and to other people’s advantage just as Leon Black has, Carl Icahn, Henry Kravis has, just as many, many others on top of the business world have.”

Conservatives have other choices in 2016. The sooner Donald Trump gets out of the race, out of the spotlight, and back to flogging his new line of menswear and next reality show, the better for the GOP.

nancy smith sunshine state news columnistNancy Smith is the editor of Sunshine State News. She started her career at the Daily Mirror and The Observer in London before spending 28 years at The Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News as managing editor and associate editor. She was president of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors in the mid-1990s. Reach her by email here, or follow her on twitter at @NancyLBSmith.

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49 Responses for “In Donald Trump, Democrats Have a “Very Useful Idiot””

  1. rbockman says:

    of course a billionaire “idiot”

  2. Linda Mattox says:

    I am angry that Obama, big business, and the Mexican government is trying to cover up illegal alien crimes against Americans by trying to punish anyone like Donald Trump that would try to discuss the problem. Donald Trump speaks the truth. When you have no enforced borders, you have no country! I will vote for Trump for President 2016!

  3. I am loving watching libs have a cow over Donald Trump. The GOP has ruined itself by nominating middle of the road RINOs like Dole, Romney, McCain and others. They all turned away the base. I love Trump and what he is doing at great cost to himself financially mind you. He is tweaking and twerking you fat head liberals and media by speaking the truth. If you did a little investigative reporting and go look it up in the NY Times your church of Libs you would see the statistics of crime with Immigrants. But don’t do that, I am enjoying the outrage you are spewing. I want to see your heads explode.

    • FlaglerLive says:

      A quick correction here: far from a liberal, Nancy Smith is the editor of Sunshine State News, a conservative news site.

    • Knightwatch says:

      Hey Michael. We libs not “spewing” or “exploding”. We are cheering The Donald on just as hard as you conservatives are. We love it when he gets on TV or the web and spews nonsense. All he does is hack away at what little positive image remains of the Republican brand. By the time he hits the primaries he’ll be the most visible, and reviled, of all the clowns in the race. When he hits the debates, he’ll be the only one speaking (or shouting), and the only one making the news. He will speak for the Republican party and our cherished liberal media will tear him a new one … and help a Democrat get elected president.

      So, GO TRUMP! Keep shouting at the nearest camera. Democrats LOVE you.

  4. Anonymous says:

    So after 6+ years of a egomaniac ,self-centered far left extremist “idiot” We now have the Donald. Id take this idiot over the one we have now at least this one loves this nation id also take him over jebb Hillary or Bernie. IMO a race between Donald and Bernie would be a great one.

  5. Ray Thorne says:

    So she’s the Piers Morgan of news paper… What will and should happen is that the other candidates will now be forced to address the issues Trump brings up. I see it as a good thing. Where do these politicians really stand? That’s what they’re worried about. Whether he’s successful or not, some things he brings up really need discussion. The fact that both sides are consumed with him tells me that they’re all afraid of him.

  6. some guy says:

    Is it any wonder That Rs have a image problem NO as most of the media is run by far left extremist like this site. Just look at how this site and CNN twists the this rape thing. YOU do not see anywhere that the Donald was talking about how a report says some 80% of women who cross the boarder illegally are raped along the way by those they pay to smuggle them across. So if its not Mexicans doing this crime in MEXICO then who?? It makes total common sense to point that finger at Mexicans.

    ~~~When a CNN reporter asked him how he knew it was Mexicans “doing the crime,” he never backed down but never answered the question either: “Well, somebody’s doing the raping. I mean somebody’s doing it. Who’s doing the raping? Who’s doing the raping?”

    My point is, Republicans are regarded poorly enough among Hispanics as it is. Hispanics represent a growing demographic, yet the GOP is falling further behind in winning their vote.

    Why? Because the party has an image problem. And it gets worse when somebody like Trump exacerbates the problem, as he did when he called Mexicans rapists.~~

  7. Anonymous says:

    id rather have someone who is honest about his thoughts then what we get in most politicians

  8. Samantha Smith says:

    I find Trump’s interesting.

    I think there are many people in this country that, while not subscribing to offending people, are really tired of politically correct speech and the idea that anytime anyone finds something offensive that speech should be stopped. Whatever happened to freedom of speech and “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend with my life your right to say it.” People losing their jobs over airing their ideas is scary and repressive. When you let someone talk you get a clearer picture of how they are thinking. I am not comfortable with speech and ideas being forces underground. Things fester less when they are out in the bright light of day.

    I am annoyed with politicians on both sides of the isle who say one thing and do another. At least Trump says it like he sees it and doesn’t back peddle. Maybe he would be a breath of fresh air and it’s only for years. Ok, well maybe eight.

  9. Ken Dodge says:

    “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

  10. starryidgirl says:

    He can’t be bought or sold….talks about issues no other candidate will address! Doesn’t care about political correctness and will make America Great Again when he gets elected in 2016!

  11. Bob says:

    This article is more liberal drivel. The Dems are scared. Their guy in office has screwed up the country beyond repair!

  12. Knightwatch says:

    I think Trump’s great. He will taint the conservative (Republican) brand for years among Hispanics. Keep talking Donald … drive more Democratic voters to the polls in 2016.

    • Just saying says:

      Your right there will be move Hispanic voters. What do you think about no ID to vote?

      • Knightwatch says:

        I think if you are a citizen of this country, voting is a right, not a privilege. As a citizen, by birth or naturalized, you should be automatically eligible to vote in any national election, in person, in any location in the U.S. In local elections, you should automatically be registered in the state/county/city, etc. in which you maintain your legal primary residence. And this may include students living in residence halls if that’s their declared primary residence. But, we would still have to have some means of ensuring that prospective voters are citizens. So, some kind of national voter identification may be required. Tough to achieve in this paranoic, conspiracy-driven political environment (you all know who I’m talking about) that defines the U.S. these days.

    • Layla says:

      Trump is not referring to American Hispanic families, he is referring to the millions invading our borders for benefits. Most have no allegiance to this country, no means of support, and will be totally dependent on the welfare system. Most cannot even speak English. They have prior criminal records and are committing some bad acts of violence in this country. Many have ties to MS 13 and other gang bangers. These are people to whom Trump was referring, the very same who have driven states like California into bankruptcy trying to support them.

      Prediction: The Donald will pull support from both parties fed up with lying politicians and stand a good chance of going on to the White House.


  13. Sandra Reynolds says:

    I get a kick out of all the right wingers who follow your left wing liberal page. I would think they had better things to do. Isn’t Rush on about this time? I won’t stoop as low as some nasty posters on here and call anyone names. I’ll just sit back and watch the circus performers.

  14. Samuel L. Bronkowitz says:

    When he’s elected and running this country like one of his businesses, who do you think he will turn to for money when he bankrupts it, like he has so many of his own?

    My guess is the poor and middle class, or china.

  15. markingthedays says:

    Screw Trump, his hair, and that awful New York accent. Am I being childish? Maybe.

  16. frankie boy says:

    everyone worried about trump should remember that Obama is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on the American people…..lets remember ACORN…his ties with terrorists ect ect…

    at least trump is true americana

    • Nancy N says:

      You really should see the doctor about those paranoid delusions. And change the channel from the alternate reality of Fox News and Rush occasionally and join the real world.

      • Bob says:

        Nancy you are delusional. The non FOX liberal media has failed to report that Obama has added more to the debt than every president combined since Washington, pulled ALL troops out of Iraq – results = ISIS, will do the same in Afghanistan, traded the worst 5 Taliban prisoners for a traitor, gave us Obamacare which will bankrupt the country. I could go on and on but am tired of typing. I know you are a Democrat but surely you must realize Mr. Obama has run the country into the ground. If I was a Democrat I would not have voted for him a second time.

  17. Outsider says:

    I agree with Trump on the issue of the raping. If 80% of the immigrant women are in fact being raped, then it would be implausible that they are all being raped by the low life coyotes who are smuggling them in. Some of it must be the work of citizens of the country they are passing through, and much of it must be committed by others in the groups of illegal immigrants. So in other words, we are allowing rapists into the country, which begs another question: If I or any other American citizen is found guilty of s sex crime, it would be easy enough to identify us; our faces would, rightly, be plastered all over law enforcement websites and maps. However, if an “undocumented” immigrant leaves his or her arrest record back in his home country, then how do we know about his past? Answer: We don’t. Yet, our politicians are tripping all over themselves to kowtow to these very people, without regard to the legitimate citizens’ safety. I am sick of it, and I don’t blame the people who are genuinely here for a better life, although I don’t approve of them coming illegally, but I blame the politicians who are giving our country away and forcing us to pay for it.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Republicans don’t seem to get it, despite two lost presidential elections. They are proud of continually shooting themselves in the foot and even prouder of candidates that do it for them, as loudly as possible–even when those candidates are doing it for the sole reason of pandering for attention and votes.

  19. Knightwatch says:

    That’s it Republicans. Keep praising Trump. Support him, encourage him, send him even more money to fund his candidacy. You are doing a great job. I love it. I love Trump! He defines today’s Republican Party – loud, abrasive, divisive, insulting, delusional, obscenely rich and profoundly ignorant.

    Go Donald Trump!!

  20. Sherry E says:

    Yeah. . . Trump who uses the bankruptcy laws as his own personal way of screwing his creditors while he continues to rake in the millions! How unethical, how dishonorable, how outrageous! Only is fellow idiots would believe that he cannot be bought or sold. . . why, he’s the first in line to serve only himself!

  21. mike says:

    Kate Steinle was a beautiful 32 year old woman who worked as a medical device sales representative. She had everything to live for. Last week she was out for a stroll on San Francisco’s Pier 14 with her father. A scumbag Mexican with several prior felonies who had been DEPORTED FIVE TIMES but was still able to re-enter the country and walk freely among us gunned Kate down in a random shooting as her father watched. I’m pretty sure that this is a microcosm of the problem that Trump suggests regarding the Mexicans. Obama, Jerry Brown, and the “progressives” don’t care, though. Open the borders, give ’em welfare and food stamps, and let ’em run free. Hey, it’s INSTANT DEMOCRATS!

  22. USA USA USA says:

    TRUMP / COULTER 2016

    • Geezer says:

      Sanders / Ham Sandwich 2016

      I am a democrat who will not vote for Hillary.
      It’s Bernie or I stay at home Election Day.

      Ann Coulter, by the way – can’t assume political office.
      Ugly old mares are for glue factories.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Yup more D votets thats what libs want NOT the rule of law. It matters not to them if they are LEGALLY alowed to vote as long as they vote D. If one truly looks at what trump was sying they would understand it had NOTHING to do with any who come here legally. Rs will NEVER get a fair shake from the media so they should not be overly concerned about them putting out a good word for them.

  24. Lancer says:

    If our candidates are Hillary and Jeb…the fix is in and so, completely, transparent, there would no longer a need to vote.

    The problem with the left is that no matter how corrupt Hillary is, no matter how many times she’s lied, no matter her lack of anything remotely approaching an accomplishment, no matter that she’s created wealth using her position representing the country…shills will still vote for her. She is guaranteed 47 million votes…complete lunacy.

    The problem with conservatives is that if they don’t see a viable republican candidate, they’ll stay home.

    A real and interesting race would be Trump versus Sanders. Trump is an accomplished business man, Sanders is a bonafide, admitted socialist. It would be refreshing for the left to be forced to openly admit what they are, socialists, and stop hiding behind “liberal” and “progressive”. It would be refreshing to see them admit they want fewer individual rights, want the government in full tilt control of, virtually, every aspect of our economy, getting this out in the open, finally, instead of in the shadowy confines of DC’s bureaucratic maze of partition walls.

    Trump could outline an economic agenda based on capitalism, controlling and protecting our porous national borders, cutting spending, reducing debt and creating jobs.

    There would be an, actual, choice and philosophical difference: Would people want to, actually, work if given the opportunity or has their complacency of receiving government programs grown too strong to overcome??

    • Knightwatch says:

      Yep, I’m a proud “socialist”. I love my social security, my Medicare and Medicade, my Obamacre, my tax-funded pension, my public education, my graduated income tax, my mortgage tax break, my national security agencies, my military services, my public libraries, my bridges and highways, my national parks and forests, my national monuments, my Amtrac, my U.S Postal Service, my tax-funded federal government and all of its agencies, my social welfare programs for the poor and disabled, and on and on.

      Don’t you get it Lancer … we are a socialist country. Damn!

  25. Geezer says:

    Imagine, Donald Trump with early support for president.

    Time for a new toupee!

    • Layla says:

      Trump has promised a new toupee in the event he is elected.

    • Nalla C says:

      It’s nonsense, he’s a vanity candidate put forth to make the clown car look more serious. That’s it and that’s all. 90% of the “support” he gets, he’s getting because he’s not a politician (think “protest vote”, except dumber)

  26. Al Ruiz says:

    Mr. Trump your speech is a way to divide and gain momentum in your run for the white house. We know that you are very, very, very rich man. When a rich powerful man picks on the poorest segment of his society in such a way to gain momentum, recognition and notoriety this is what I would call a down right shameful act.
    Trump is using one of the oldest tricks in the political arsenal. Blame the problems of a society on an ethnic group. Or even better the poorest ethnic group in a society. After all they don’t have the money to protect themselves and they can’t vote so how can you lose? Who cares if they do the work that others in this society detest. Who cares if they can barely support their families because the people employing them do not pay them a fair wage? And as long as they are illegals we have a right legally to take advantage of them. Who cares that their families are forced to live together because they cannot afford even the lowest of rents. Who cares that they have to work in the worst conditions imaginable. After all that’s what keeps our costs down, so who cares? They are illegals and that is the way we as a society treat illegals. So don’t pass laws to make them legal, their wages and conditions will improve. And our costs will increase. We are all guilty as we all look the other way, after all they are illegal, and that’s what they deserve.
    And so, to add insult to injury we have a candidate that goes after the poorest in our society. After all they are illegals and we really have to blame our problems on those illegals.
    And then as this candidate gains momentum hosts on major news networks support him and they will even go as far as to scour the national news to carefully mention only atrocities committed by illegals of course nobody else is committing atrocities in the U.S. Some other Republican candidates are jumping on the band wagon supporting his abrasive attacks towards the poorest in our nation. I could only say shame on all of you for picking on the poorest ethnic group in this society. Because you really know that they are not the main problem in this society.
    Look at history and you will see over and over again that tyrants have blamed a segment of their society for all of the problems in their society. And have somehow hypnotized the masses in that society to commit atrocities in a mammoth scale against that portion of their society. I hope that we have learned from history that blaming a segment of our society for our problems is a monumental mistake.
    If we want more things, we need to go out and work harder for those things. But to blame the poorest in our society for not having what we want is just wrong. On the other hand our true heroes from the past have died for their beliefs. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated he believed that a nation divided could not stand. Martin Luther King had a dream of equality and he was assassinated. And John Kennedy who supported Martin Luther King in his quest, and also said: Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country, was also assassinated.

  27. Patriot76 says:

    Comparing Trump to Hitler may sound over-the-top, but from a historians perspective, this is very much a fair comparison before 1941. The reason I stipulate before that year is Trump hasn’t advocated the mass genocide of illegal immigrants / Mexicans – at least yet. It is remarkable however that even in a free society, we still find about 25-30% of the population to be so easily seduced, it makes one question the idea of a democracy.

    Trump’s statements are often inaccurate as they are morally unjustifiable. One of Hitler’s greatest political tactics was the dehumanization of groups of people he felt were genetically inferior. His belief stemmed more from a desire to be superior than an actual belief in the others inferiority. The same narcissism can be found in any rhetoric that goes the distance Trump has these past few days.

    His defiance and unrelentance to admit pontification of extreme viewpoints on illegal immigration is only further proof of his inability to both inspire positively and prove any leadership quality. A divider at best; an antagonist of hate and ostracization in all reality. To think he inspires some is not only a wonder in itself, but also evidentiary of the lingering human flaws that Hitler so easily influenced in his time.

    Trump is losing support from businesses and his own party already – eventually he will realize the temporary surge in polls to his favor is brought on by well-imbedded bigotry in the masses. Thankfully in a free society, this sort of babble only gets you so far…

    • Ray Thorne says:

      Even pre 1941 there is no comparison. Hitler as you stated believed certain people to be genetically inferior. People who did nothing wrong were persecuted solely on the basis of what they were born into. Trump, though maybe harsh with words, talks about a criminal element entering this country and stopping it from happening by strengthening our borders. Something that most politicians seem afraid to discuss. Is Trump Presidential material? W’ell have to see how he stands up in the debates I guess. But he is forcing discussion. And if you’re going to give a blanket statement about Trump’s statement inaccuracies, please state what they are so those reading your post can look it up and educate themselves thanks. Knowledge is power.

    • Bob says:

      Please, comparing Trump to Hitler is totally ridiculous. His statement about illegals was worded horribly, everyone knows he did not mean it to come out as it did. But the liberal media has it in stone safely stored somewhere so it can be dragged out ad nauseum. The libtards are running scared!

      • Patriot76 says:

        Bob, your comments are somewhat amusing, if not perplexing… Your defense of Trump’s wording is to imply he is incapable of making a coherent and rationale argument. It sounds like a mother defending a problem child to be honest.

        Trump is not wrong to say we have a problem at the border and have for many many years. I mean, I can’t even believe the Republican majority in 1840’s allowed those darn Mexicans to invade Texas with 10,000+ troops. As ridiculous as my own comments may sound about the GOP’s history – this is how ridiculous Teump sounds to someone who understands the complexity of the issue in totality.

        We do have a border problem and President Bush attempted to compromise on a solution in 2007 which your Rebublican Congress so feverishly opposed. If we had made those changes then perhaps today those “illegals” would have a form of registration we can manage and the border line would have proper funding and security. If memory serves me correctly.. President Bush was the executive who stalled delivery of hundreds of new border patrol agents to the border for whatever reason..

        I’m proud to be so immaculately referred to as a “Liberal” because it implies a belief in liberty above all other things. The liberty to have an educated opinion on such matters of state.. The liberty to know what is not truly liberal… Imagine how much better this country would be if Republicans actually understood the definitions of “Republican” and “Conservative” – what a better place this world may be.

        Or you could just try to read the Federalist Papers – if you can understand the Old English it may educate you well on matters of state even today

  28. Patriot76 says:

    I want to add briefly that I am by no means a supporter of illegal immigration to this country – I do understand the complexity of this problem on the economy in particular. I’m pretty sure Mr. Trump should be so familiar as he and many other corporate tycoons in this state have long proliferated and taken advantage of this problem for their own business desires while simultaneously denouncing the problem itself.

    It’s political advocacy 101 – it is far easier to practice undesirable things if you are the loudest critic of it

  29. Lancer says:

    The Hitler/ Trump comparison is ridiculous.

    Hitler, the leader of the Nationalist Socialist German Workers Party.
    National Healthcare? Yep.
    Private gun ownership? No.
    National education? Yep.
    High Taxes? Yep.
    Freedom of Speech? No.
    Government control of the economy? Yes.

    They even had programs for breeding! Lebensborn.

    When a leftist tries to compare “conservatives” to Nazis, they invariably, don’t understand that: Left in Europe is Communism and Right, in Europe, is Socialism, even fascism. They are, really, showing their political ignorance.

    At first, what Trump said brought him media condemnation for the outlandish statements. However, now people are actually talking about the issue. Illegal immigration has not been addressed for decades, the buck has just been passed. Reports will continue to come out about how much illegal immigration has cost us: crime, employment, infrastructure…and it won’t be good.

    0bama even said he didn’t have the power to touch the topic, that he wasn’t a “king” and it had to go through congress. Then, he went about abusing his power to try and make amnesty a reality. A federal judge said it was illegal and ordered it halted. 0bama and the state department keep doing it! They are brazenly and wantonly breaking the law.

    I, believe, we need to halt all immigration for, at least, 3 years. We need to get some semblance of reform and plan in place to streamline the immigration process and make it more efficient. We need to focus on infrastructure.

  30. Sherry E says:

    Greetings from (now) charming, friendly Hoorn, near Amsterdam!

    Not so fast there. . . for all those thinking they are experts on European politics:

    LISBON, Portugal — Europe’s plethora of political parties has always been baffling, especially for Americans used to the simplicity of their eternal Democrat vs. Republican duels.
    Now, after six years of unprecedented economic crisis, disgruntled voters from Greece to Great Britain are fast reshaping the continent’s political landscape, blurring traditional left-right divides and throwing up surprising — and disturbing — new alignments.
    Take France. Politics there is now a three-horse race between the Socialists of President Francois Hollande, the center-right led by his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy and the radical right National Front party.
    In local elections held across the country last week, the Front came second with 25 percent of the vote, behind a mainstream right coalition headed by Sarkozy with 29 percent, but ahead of the Socialists who scored just over 21 percent.
    “The people are reinventing politics. You had better get used to it,” the Front’s leader Marine Le Pen told rivals at a rally this week.
    “This is just the beginning … next we’ll target the Elysee,” she promised, referring to the presidential palace in Paris.
    Then there’s Spain. Since democracy was restored in the mid-1970s, the conservative People’s Party has alternated in power with the Socialists. Now, with national elections coming in December, opinion polls point to a victory by the radical left We Can (Podemos) party, founded just last year.
    The We Can upstarts are, however, no longer Spain’s fastest growing party. Today’s trending movement is a bunch of radical centrists who call themselves Citizens.
    Originally set up in Catalonia to oppose the regional government’s separatist ambitions, the party went national last year and has seen its poll ratings soar. The December elections could be a four-way fight.
    That political fragmentation is happening across the continent.
    In provincial elections in the Netherlands last week, the top six parties each received between 10 percent and 16 percent of the vote. Smaller groups representing animal lovers, voters over 50 and Calvinist traditionalists also made gains.
    Nine parties are expected to win seats in Finland’s parliamentary election in April. Four parties already share power there in a government coalition that includes two center-right factions, the Social Democrats, and a group representing the Swedish-speaking minority.
    In Britain, where the Conservative and Labour parties have dominated politics since the end of World War II, the general election on May 7 is set to erode the two-party system — even if support for the centrist Liberal-Democrats is in free fall.
    Big gains are expected for the radical right UK Independence Party (UKIP) and the Greens.
    However, with Labour and Conservative running neck-and-neck in the polls, it’s the Scottish Nationalist Party that could hold the balance of power. It’s expected to pull off a near sweep of seats in Scotland.
    Blurred lines
    So far, it’s Greece that has produced Europe’s biggest political earthquake. The elections in January that brought the far-left Syriza party to power drew a line under the conservative v. socialist politics that had been the norm since the end of dictatorship in the 1970s.
    In 2009, Greece’s last election before the country became the epicenter of the euro zone debt crisis, the Socialists and the conservative New Democracy party won a combined 77.4 percent of the vote. In January they got just 34 percent.
    Parliament is now packed with radical leftists, old-school Communists, ultra-nationalists, neo-Nazis and 17 members of another new radical centrist party, snappily named The River.

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