The Berlin Wall fell 30 years ago. It was one of the few unambiguously joyous moments in modern history. This popular, nonviolent explosion of dissent effectively toppled East Germany’s despotic regime. And it signaled, if only symbolically, the end of the Cold War that had divided Europe for nearly half a century. Thirty years later,… Continue reading Did the Fall of the Berlin Wall Produce Trump?
In the Americas, the Trump tsunami has swept across both continents and the “pink tide” of progressivism has all but disappeared from the southern half of the hemisphere. In Europe, with the recent exception of Spain, the left has been banished to the political margins. In Africa and Asia, socialism has devolved into nationalism, authoritarianism,… Continue reading The Rising Tide of the Populist Right
Right-wing populists are all the rage these days. Donald Trump and his spleen control the White House, while his counterparts have taken over in Italy, Hungary, Poland, Colombia, India, and elsewhere. Steve Bannon, Trump’s former Svengali, hopes to inspire a worldwide revolution of nationalism-inflected right-wing extremism. But what about left-wing populists? Bernie Sanders made an epic run… Continue reading Bernies of the World, Unite!
He was a rich businessman, an outspoken outsider with a love of conspiracy theories. And he was a populist running for president. In 1990, when Donald Trump was still beyond the furthest outskirts of American politics, Stanislaw Tyminski was trying to become the new president of post-communist Poland. He shared something else with the future… Continue reading Welcome to the Birthplace of Trumpism
Donald Trump’s approval ratings remain dismal, yet the Democrats are 0 for 4 in congressional elections in 2017. Not only do a majority of Americans believe that the president has tried to obstruct investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections but, by a 2 to 1 margin, Americans believe former FBI chief James Comey’s account of his firing… Continue reading Russia vs. Jobs
Donald Trump might seem like a uniquely American phenomenon. The shape-shifting billionaire huckster reinvented himself first as a TV personality and then as a maverick populist politician. He rode to power on patriotic slogans – Make America Great Again – and tailored his policy prescriptions to specific American constituencies like West Virginia coal miners and… Continue reading What Europe Can Teach Us About Trump
The history of political parties is rather boring. Not much has changed since the French Revolution, which produced the the terms “Left” and “Right” to reflect where people sat in the National Assembly. The early 20th century saw the rise of Communist parties on the far left. Shortly later, fascist parties began to emerge on… Continue reading Trump and the Transformation of Politics
You know you’re a wonk when your nighttime reading is as thick as the latest Stephen King novel, but no one in your family is clamoring to borrow your doorstop. Consider, for instance, the Iran nuclear agreement. It’s a mere 159 pages, but it’s full of technical language that requires the parsing of a physicist.… Continue reading Elite Smackdown
It was 1972. The flamboyant rock star Alice Cooper, not quite a household name at that point in England, was booked to play London’s Wembley Stadium. Shortly before the concert date, only a couple hundred of the 7,000 available tickets had been sold. Facing an epic failure, the redoubtable rock music promoter Shep Gordon emblazoned… Continue reading Trump Takes on the World
They were nationalists. They despised the huge supranational institution that ruled over Europe. They expressed little faith in the bureaucracies of power and preferred a more direct connection to the people. And they used the latest technologies to promote their messages. Take your pick: the Protestants of the 16th century or the populists of today. It… Continue reading Europe’s Populist Reformation