The political world is ablaze this week with post-Iowa and pre-New Hampshire analysis. In my latest post for US News & World Report, The Winter of Worldwide Discontent, I use the occasion to step back and look at the broader issue of how we got here.
As you know if you’ve been reading my posts the last few months, I think “here” is a worldwide, across-the-political-spectrum disillusionment with elites. I’ve spent the last several weeks pointing out how this phenomenon is worldwide; this week, I wanted to emphasize that the disillusionment isn’t simply with politics and government as usual: It’s rooted in massive economic disappointment for most people, everywhere. Eventually, this will mean economic, not just political, change.
Yes, people think politicians are both ineffectual and corrupt, in the pockets of special interests and unresponsive to their needs – but that’s a problem because the existing economic order is failing them and they want some redress. If anyone thinks the rising anger of electorates everywhere will be sated by a change in the names and faces at the top of governments, they’re kidding themselves: People everywhere – not just the suicidal, marginalized, older white males who have started getting attention lately – think the entire economic and social order is rigged against them in a way that hasn’t been seen on this scale since the revolutionary era of 1776-1848.
In my next post, I plan to address what can and should be done about it. In the meantime, two-thirds of GOP voters and half of Democrats in Iowa have said they want something radically different from what their respective party leadership present – and those are the folks who have enough confidence in the political system to turn out for it. Next week, it’s expected that strong majorities will vote for the insurgent populist candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. The Establishments may wrest back control of the process and (as I’ve predicted for a while, will) nominate Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton. But that won’t end the insurgency.