“How Did this Man Get Elected?” Perspectives on American Politics, Populism and Donald Trump
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This article examines and compares three very different interpretations of populism and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election: Ian Bremmer’s Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism; Jonah Goldberg’s Suicide of the West; and Salena Zito and Brad Todd’s The Great Revolt. Bremmer contends populism resulted in the U.S. and other nations when ruling elites failed to respond effectively to globalization’s rapidly rising inequalities. Goldberg sees deep-rooted divides in classical political philosophy (Rousseau v. Hobbes) as sources for contemporary identity politics on the sex-and-gender obsessed left and on the nativist/nationalist right. Based on direct interviews and supplementary survey data, Zito and Todd construct varying typologies of voter groups who supported Trump. None of the authors recognize that populism’s future may be seen in California where the effects of globalization, immigration and inequality are most pronounced.