Top of Mind

What’s Driving Populist Flare-ups?

Why are populist candidates getting so much attention in the U.S. and Europe? A common explanation is that low-skill workers hurt by globalization are fed up. Daniel Gros questions that explanation in Project Syndicate, pointing out that, in Europe, the number of low-skill workers is shrinking as more people complete their education.  And in the U.S., Donald Trump’s success is widely attributed to struggling blue collar workers. But FiveThirtyEight finds that his supporters have a much higher median income than Clinton supporters.  

Jill Lepore, writing in the New Yorker, proposes an an alternate theory: that the new populism is a result of social media. Political parties’ ability to shape the vox populi has diminished with so many people broadcasting their opinions.