Paul Krugman has lamented the lack of incentives in US political life to make sense. There are no sanctions, he argues, against politicians saying and standing for completely crazy things – like that tax cuts generate more revenue.
Anyway, I thought about this looking at this post outlining ‘extremeness aversion’ in this vignette.
Simonson and Tversky  describe a marketing experiment in which two groups of consumers were asked to choose microwave ovens. One group was offered a choice between two ovens, an Emerson priced at $109.99 and a Panasonic priced at $179.99. The second group was offered these ovens plus a high-end Panasonic priced at $199.99.
By offering the high-end oven, Panasonic increased its market share from 43% to 73%. More remarkably, the sales of the mid-priced Panasonic oven increased from 43% to 60% apparently because it was now the “compromise” choice. According to Smith and Nagle , “Adding a premium product to the product line may not necessarily result in overwhelming sales of the premium product itself. It does, however, enhance buyers’ perceptions of lower-priced products in the product line and influences low-end buyers to trade up to higher-priced models.”
So maybe one way of seeing the strange eclipse of the narratives of the perfidy of its opponents on the left of politics is that it’s ignoring this phenomenon. Maybe the left should be a little more comfortable with the crazies on the left, softening up the electorate to think of it as centrist (which it is). I had a conversation with a former Hawke Govt senior minister the other day who said it was very difficult for the ALP outflanked on the left by the Greens. I’ve always thought that the Greens could be an asset to the ALP in just the same way that John Howard turned One Nation into an asset for his party (it certainly wasn’t until he embraced his own inner xenophobe). If the ALP could actually own its inner left leaning spirit, it might somehow manage some politically powerful political collaboration as the more centrist party within left leaning political sentiment in Australia with the Greens representing the more extreme wing – in the same way that the Nationals represent the more right wing wing of the Coalition.
The nationals and Tony Abbott that is. Oh wait . . . .