The System Didn’t Work: Populist revolt across the world is about justice, not economics

The System Didn’t Work: Populist revolt across the world is about justice, not economics, by Bret Stephens.

The populist wave now cresting across much of the world is sometimes described as a revolt against globalisation: immigrants failing to assimilate the values of their hosts, poorer countries drawing jobs from richer ones, and so on.

But the root complaint is not about economics. It’s about justice. Why does the banker get the bailout while the merchant goes bankrupt? Why does the illegal immigrant get to jump the citizenship queue? What right does a foreign judge have to tell us what punishments our criminals deserve? Why do our soldiers risk their lives for the defence of wealthy allies?

The Trump victory is the triumph of the Tea Party, against the establishment Republicans and the Democrats. The Tea Party was formed by Democrats and Republicans alike, in 2008, aghast at the unfair treatment handed out by the establishment. Bankers caused the crisis but hardly any banks went bust, the government bailed out banks and big failed companies, no banker even went to jail, and the media did not object.

The Tea Party was mainly a middle class protest against the financial and political establishments, by previously apolitical people. There was no room in the Democrat Party, but they found a niche in the Republican Party, eventually overcoming the traditional Republicans and becoming a majority after eight years. Yes, it’s about justice.

The media of course misinformed people about the Tea Party from the get go, telling everyone it was just a bunch of racists and pouring scorn on them. Typical.