Nancy Fraser in American Affairs:
At first sight, today’s crisis appears to be political. Its most spectacular expression is right here, in the United States: Donald Trump—his election, his presidency, and the contention surrounding it. But there is no shortage of analogues elsewhere: the UK’s Brexit debacle; the waning legitimacy of the European Union and the disintegration of the social-democratic and center-right parties that championed it; the waxing fortunes of racist, anti-immigrant parties throughout northern and east-central Europe; and the upsurge of authoritarian forces, some qualifying as proto-fascist, in Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific. Our political crisis, if that’s what it is, is not just American, but global.
What makes that claim plausible is that, notwithstanding their differences, all these phenomena share a common feature. All involve a dramatic weakening, if not a simple breakdown, of the authority of the established political classes and political parties. It is as if masses of people throughout the world had stopped believing in the reigning common sense that underpinned political domination for the last several decades. It is as if they had lost confidence in the bona fides of the elites and were searching for new ideologies, organizations, and leadership. Given the scale of the breakdown, it’s unlikely that this is a coincidence. Let us assume, accordingly, that we face a global political crisis.