American Political Decay or Renewal? The Meaning of the 2016 Election. Some accurate observations by prominent observer Francis Fukuyama, an academic who publicly backed Obama in 2008. (We’ve ignored his confused economics.)
The once proud Republican Party lost control of its nominating process to Donald Trump’s hostile takeover and is riven with deep internal contradictions. … [T]he ultra-insider Hillary Clinton has faced surprisingly strong competition from Bernie Sanders, a 74-year-old self-proclaimed democratic socialist.
Whatever the issue — from immigration to financial reform to trade to stagnating incomes — large numbers of voters on both sides of the spectrum have risen up against what they see as a corrupt, self-dealing Establishment, turning to radical outsiders in the hopes of a purifying cleanse. …
Social class is now back at the heart of American politics, trumping other cleavages—race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, geography—that had dominated discussion in recent elections.
The gap between the fortunes of elites and those of the rest of the public has been growing for two generations, but only now is it coming to dominate national politics. … So now that the elites have been shocked out of their smug complacency, the time has come for them to devise more workable solutions to the problems they can no longer deny or ignore.
In recent years, it has become ever harder to deny that incomes have been stagnating for most U.S. citizens even as elites have done better than ever, generating rising inequality throughout American society.
By the way, hardly anyone knows how money is manufactured any more, but the growing inequality in society is largely because of the way money is created. Those who know and run the process have creamed off an outsize share of the societal gains in productively and wealth. (I wrote something on this a few years ago.)
But the more important problem with the Democrats is that the party has embraced identity politics as its core value. The party has won recent elections by mobilizing a coalition of population segments: women, African Americans, young urbanites, gays, and environmentalists.
The one group it has completely lost touch with is the same white working class that was the bedrock of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal coalition. … [I]n a Quinnipiac University survey released in April, 80 percent of Trump’s supporters polled said they felt that “the government has gone too far in assisting minority groups,” and 85 percent agreed that “America has lost its identity.”
He bells this cat, something to remember when the PC media speaks scornfully of “populism.”
“Populism” is the label that political elites attach to policies supported by ordinary citizens that they don’t like.