February 20th, 2017

pacificparlour

WHEN ELITE CONSENSUS FAILS.

If, emulating Hayek, we contemplate a Fatal Conceit, then there must be a time for morbidity and mortality to render futile what the Wise Experts aspire to do.  And when the signs of decline set in, suggests John Judis, they might manifest themselves among the people as a populist insurgency.  Thus comes his The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics.  It's a Columbia Global Report, and yet a readable, tightly argued product for Book Review No. 3.

There are many manifestations of populism, some from the left, and some from the right, but when the Political Consensus breaks down, and the usual medicine of a Realignment Election doesn't keep enough of the Consensus in place, then comes an insurgency.  But the term "populism" misleads, in that often there is a vanguard, or perhaps a Pied Piper, and in the United States, the last two Pied Pipers were named Sanders and Trump.  And Mr Judis submitted his book for publication after one Hillary Clinton had won the Democrat nomination and she looked to be a lock for the presidency.

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Meanwhile, Mr Trump is doubling down on the country being governed by stupid people, and the legacy press carrying water for the hegemons.  But he's saying "lying press."  That's more likely to be the "political earthquake [to overturn] neoliberalism and realign the parties" Mr Judis contemplates.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)