The Peculiar Populism of Donald Trump

All wars have unintended consequences, including culture wars. …

In an article to be published in the June issue of Perspectives on Politics, “Trump and the Xenophobic Populist Parties: The Silent Revolution in Reverse,” Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris put their case in blunt terms:

“Postmaterialism,” they write, “eventually became its own gravedigger.” …

In effect, postwar prosperity in America and in Western Europe allowed many voters to shift their political priorities from bread-and-butter issues to less materialistic concerns, “bringing greater emphasis on freedom of expression, environmental protection, gender equality, and tolerance of gays, handicapped people and foreigners.”

Not everyone experienced this new found economic security, however, and the number of those left behind has grown steadily. Those who do not experience the benefits of prosperity, Inglehart and Norris write, can see “others” — “an influx of foreigners,” for example, as the culprit causing their predicament:

Insecurity encourages an authoritarian xenophobic reaction in which people close ranks behind strong leaders, with strong in-group solidarity, rejection of outsiders, and rigid conformity to group norms. CONT.

Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times