All posts tagged: Politics

Why the Intellectual Elite Can’t Learn Its Lesson?

History may show that the single biggest casualty of 2016 was the credibility of elites. The one-two punch of Brexit and Trump has left establishment media and politicians reeling, their prestige cast into doubt. Their obliviousness to the right-wing populist surge exposed the bubble that most elites live in. It’s clear that they’ve been speaking and listening to one another within that bubble for far too long. So what now? Since Donald J. Trump’s victory, we’ve seen a bevy of ostensibly soul-searching think pieces from elites attempting to pinpoint how they got it wrong. But even amid this seeming display of humility, a streak of superiority shows through. In The Washington Post, for example: “We wanted to believe… America was better than that. I can fault journalists for a lot of things, but I can’t fault us for that.” A British professor of politics was quoted in The New York Times, “It’s no longer ‘the economy, stupid’, it’s ‘identity, stupid’… Identity and cultural politics are even bigger determinants of people’s politics than we thought possible.” …

A populist in power in the U.S.

The USA on November 8th, 2016 elected a demagogue and misogynist with no prior political experience, scant respect for liberal-democratic values, an allegedly volatile temperament and next to no knowledge of international affairs to the highest political office in the land and the most powerful in the world. Is it surprising? Yes. But only because almost all opinion pollsters (once again wrong-footed!) anticipated a Clinton victory and in his campaign Trump appeared to have been enmeshed in too many moral and financial scandals and to have antagonized and offended too many constituencies and groups, even within his own Republican Party, to win. But Trump masterfully tapped into and mobilized deep-seated protectionist and isolationist tendencies that dominated US economic and foreign policies until the Second World War, but were buried temporarily by the Cold War with the Soviet Communist block in the ensuing four decades. He rode the rising tide of populism (the glorification of an ethnically and culturally homogenous ‘people’ against an – allegedly – corrupt ‘establishment’) that has gathered momentum and swept the Western world, …