Trump Is Right That the System Is “Rigged”—and He’s Stacking It More

Average Americans Are Losing Power While Self-Serving Elites Lose Public Trust

Pundits nearly always attribute Donald Trump’s success to right-wing “populism.” This conclusion is dangerously misleading. Trump’s rise is rooted firmly in his ability to make an old-fashioned word—“rigged”—work in surprisingly fresh ways. Trump correctly diagnosed a feeling among working people that the system was rigged against them, and then leveraged that against his seemingly more sophisticated and better-funded opponents in both parties. That he went into the election proclaiming that it was “rigged” against him was yet another ironic flourish.

As a social anthropologist who studies both “influence elites” and the …

The Radical Paradox of Sweden’s Consensus Culture

Our Inclination to Agree Pushes Political and Social Policies to Extremes

In the 1930s, the American journalist Marquis Childs, after spending time in Sweden, wrote the bestselling book Sweden: The Middle Way. Childs described a country without major social conflicts between …

A Nation Jolted by Terrorism Redefines Its Sense of Self

The End of Sweden’s “Naïve Slumber” Lays Bare Its Competing Truths

The woman in the audience is among those who will stay for a while to ask a question. I have just been giving a lecture at the Foreign Policy Association …

How California’s Open Meetings Law Became a Gag Rule

Local Government Has Changed So Much That the Historic Brown Act Is Silencing Us, Not Protecting Us

The Ralph M. Brown Act, first approved in 1953, is celebrated for its supposed guarantees that we citizens have a voice in the decisions of all our local governments.

But today, …

No One Wants to Wear the “Fascist” Label, Even If It Fits

Why Hitler's Brownshirts and Mussolini's Blackshirts Rile up Today's Politics

Western democracy may be facing its biggest challenge since 1945. It’s easy to find parallels between Donald Trump, the UK Independence Party (UKIP), the French National Front, the Alternativ für …