Fears of demagoguery are provoking a frightening swing in the other directionI would not lay this to Trump exclusively or even primarily, but to "populism" as evidenced also by Bernie Sanders in the US, Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn (who was nevertheless for Remain) in the UK, and right wing politicians like Nigel Farage in the UK in the UK and Marine Le Pen in France, as well as left wing parties like Podemos in Spain, Five Star in Italy, and Syriza in Greece. Then there is the leftward tilt that has been taking place in Latin America for some time in spite of fierce opposition from elites.
Elites are worried and they blame democracy, which they have always considered to be mob rule. Now they are afraid it is happening, and they don't seem to have mede the connection that it is a reaction to their own overreach, or just don't care. They want their countries back, and their colonies, too.
Matt Taibbi: The "too much democracy" train rolls on.
Last week's Brexit vote prompted pundits and social media mavens to wonder aloud if allowing dumb people to vote is a good thing.Taibbi puts his finger on the problem.
Now, the cover story in The Atlantic magazine features the most aggressive offering yet in an alarming series of intellectual-class jeremiads against the dangers of democracy.
In "How American Politics Went Insane," Brookings Institute Fellow Jonathan Rauch spends many thousands of words arguing for the reinvigoration of political machines, as a means of keeping the ape-citizen further from power.
He portrays the public as a gang of nihilistic loonies determined to play mailbox baseball with the gears of state.
"Neurotic hatred of the political class is the country's last universally acceptable form of bigotry," he writes, before concluding:
"Our most pressing political problem today is that the country abandoned the establishment, not the other way around."…
Voters in America not only aren't over-empowered, they've for decades now been almost totally disenfranchised, subjects of one of the more brilliant change-suppressing systems ever invented.
We have periodic elections, which leave citizens with the feeling of self-rule. But in reality people are only allowed to choose between candidates carefully screened by wealthy donors. Nobody without a billion dollars and the approval of a half-dozen giant media companies has any chance at high office.
People have no other source of influence. Unions have been crushed. Nobody has any job security. Main Street institutions that once allowed people to walk down the road to sort things out with other human beings have been phased out. In their place now rest distant, unfeeling global bureaucracies.The good news is that in systems where parties have the ability to react peacefully, change can about peacefully. Otherwise torches and pitchforks, and the police or even military repression to meet it.
In Response to Trump, Another Dangerous Movement Appears
ht Brad DeLong