Andrew Sullivan sees similarities between Brexit and the presidency of Donald Trump. Both, he writes in New York magazine, are reactionary fantasies:
Brexit and Trump are the history of Thatcher and Reagan repeating as dangerous farce, a confident, intelligent conservatism reduced to nihilist, mindless reactionism.
Trump is the worst of the two. His absurd claims about the economy being a “disaster” before he took over and now posting record growth; his tough talk as substitute for foreign policy; his determination to reverse every one of Barack Obama’s policy accomplishments and his daily Twitter tirades are about as clear an escape from reality as one can imagine.
For the four in ten Americans who still support him, that is the point of Trump’s presidency: to pretend the modern world — with its changing climate and demographics, relaxed gender norms, declining religiosity, global supply chains and devaluation of manual labor — doesn’t exist. Read more
German Election Shows Stabilizing Effect of Multiparty Democracy
The headline-grapping news from Germany this weekend was the return of the far right, which won back seats in the national parliament for the first time since 1961.
But the bigger — and more reassuring — story of the election was the fragmentation of the German political landscape.
The Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, once faraway the two largest parties, won only 56 percent of the seats combined. A record seven parties (counting the Bavarian Christian Social Union separately) crossed the 5-percent election threshold. Four parties will probably be needed to form a coalition government — another first in postwar German history.
This might look like instability at first, but it actually underscores the resilience of multiparty democracy. Read more
Florian Philippot’s ouster from the National Front makes political sense.
Philippot was for years Marine Le Pen’s right-hand man. Together they transformed the reactionary party, which has deep roots in the French Algerian exile community, into a broad Euroskeptic and nativist force that could appeal to rust-belt voters.
They de-demonized the National Front. Le Pen won 34 percent support in this year’s presidential election, doubling her father’s record from fifteen years ago.
Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the rising popularity of the National Front in France have all been explained as working-class revolts against urban, liberal elites (including by me.)
The Niskanen Center’s Brink Lindsey argues in The American Interest that this isn’t quite right. These democratic expressions of discontent should rather be understood as the convulsions of a working class that is dying. Read more