Italians are voting in a national election today. As in many elections, there is hardly any “good” option – but plenty of bad ones.

If you’re interested in my take, I have a Podcast with Wall Street Journal‘s Mary Kissel and a piece on National Review.

My gut feeling is that the Five Stars Movement will score even better than expected. They are a “populist” party, which in this case means promising ever bigger government as if it came free. What worries me the most, however, is that the long term consequence of this election will be that the right will move even further away from any vaguely free market leaning rhetoric. Previous forecasts of his impending demise have constantly proven wrong, but at age 81 this must be the last electoral battle of Mr Berlusconi. I thought he was quite an ineffective prime minister, but nowadays among right wingers he is the only one who keeps up some sort of “moderate” conservative rhetoric, instead of cultivating a sense of nostalgia for a much more tightly knit society.

Circumstances ain’t much better on the left side of the political spectrum.

I think Italy may end up being France without Macron. This risk has been constantly underestimated by international observers, who thought a grand coalition of sorts inevitable. But betting on populists winning but not just enough to govern seems to me a rather shortsighted approach.