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A vital aspect of our election, little noticed, is that the bile between the parties was relatively tempered compared to the virulence of current politics in most Western countries. Today in Brexit Britain, Donald Trump’s US and over much of Europe from Poland and Hungary to Austria and Italy, debates are increasingly venomous. Opponents are vilified as “enemies”, even damned as “traitors”. In SA, apart from smaller parties such as the EFF or Black Land First, which thrive on stirring division and hatred, the worst excoriation seems to be reserved for internal factional politicking. The open warfare within the ANC has been widely exposed. But after a disappointing election, the fissures in the DA may prove more immediately damaging: a barrier to its building up to where it might seem like a truly viable alternative government. A crucial difference between Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC and the current DA is perhaps a “centrist” direction against the vaguer “middle of the road”. The former i...

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