From the New York Times:
Centrists Are the Most Hostile to Democracy, Not Extremists
By DAVID ADLER
MAY 23, 2018
The warning signs are flashing red: Democracy is under threat. Across Europe and North America, candidates are more authoritarian, party systems are more volatile, and citizens are more hostile to the norms and institutions of liberal democracy.
“Liberal democracy” being defined in practice not as the will of the people being implemented but as liberal Democrats like Hillary winning.
These trends have prompted a major debate between those who view political discontent as economic, cultural or generational in origin. But all of these explanations share one basic assumption: The threat is coming from the political extremes.
On the right, ethno-nationalists and libertarians are accused of supporting fascist politics; on the left, campus radicals and the so-called antifa movement are accused of betraying liberal principles. Across the board, the assumption is that radical views go hand in hand with support for authoritarianism, while moderation suggests a more committed approach to the democratic process.
Is it true?
Maybe not. My research suggests that across Europe and North America, centrists are the least supportive of democracy, the least committed to its institutions and the most supportive of authoritarianism.
Centrists aren’t typically well-informed people who understand fully the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments of the left and the right. Centrists aren’t normally Mickey Kaus writing a ten-part debate with himself over whether to vote for Gore or Bush in 2000 (he eventually decided upon Gore).
Instead, centrists are more often people who find politics boring and annoying and wish it would just go away.