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A View From Across the Pond

If ever there was a democratic election in a giant modern nation-state, it was Donald J. Trump’s victory in 2016.  And I’ve closely watched every presidential election since I was nine in 1964, when Lyndon Johnson lied his way to a landslide against Barry Goldwater.  Trump gathered the remnants of Nixon’s Silent Majority and the Reagan Democrats, added the new Deplorables, and appealed to middle- and working-class Americans long taken for granted by both parties—even as those patriots’ jobs, country, and very culture had been stolen from them.  Then he led us to deliver a well-deserved rebuke to the Establishment, the Elite, the Deep State—whatever you choose to call the people who have spent decades ruining our great country.  He revived American democracy.

That’s not how a Cambridge don sees it from the heights of elite privilege in the Motherland.  How Democracy Ends, by David Runciman, begins with the horror he, and other professors and students, suffered as they watched President Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017, “on a large screen in a lecture hall in Cambridge, England.”  The new President

looked forbidding and strange.  We were scared.  Trump’s barking delivery and his crudely effective hand gestures—slicing the thin air with his stubby fingers, raising a clenched fist...

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