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American politics today are a mess, and since the distraction and paralysis of the world’s hegemon has such obvious global significance, we decided to turn our focus inward, exploring the sources and contours of the American malaise.
The problems with American politics today stem from the basic design of U.S. political institutions, exacerbated by increasingly hostile polarization. Unfortunately, absent some sort of major external shock, the decay is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
The Tea Party and its European cousins have emerged from the enduring inability of democratic governments to satisfy their citizens’ needs. Today’s populist movements won’t subside until the legitimate grievances driving them have been addressed.
Three big trends -- a growing reliance on older voters, an extremist ideological turn, and an increasing internal rigidity -- have changed the Republican Party over the past decade, weakening its ability to win presidential elections and inhibiting its ability to govern.
Why are gay rights advancing while organized labor retreats? Because of a long-term trend in which the American left has largely succeeded in pushing its social agenda but not its economic one.
A loose confederation of conservative thinkers and politicians is developing a new strategy for reaching out to the American middle class. These reformers could save the Republican Party -- if only they could win over their fellow conservatives.
Divisions among Democrats exist just like they do among Republicans, but have largely festered beneath the surface for lack of a spokesperson to challenge the party’s economic elites. In Elizabeth Warren, grassroots Democrats may have found their champion.
Conventional wisdom in the West blames the Ukraine crisis on Russian aggression. But this account is wrong: Washington and its European allies actually share most of the responsibility, having spent decades pushing east into Russia’s natural sphere of interest.
Moscow has long argued that in expanding NATO eastward, Washington broke the promise it made to Soviet leaders shortly after the Berlin wall fell. But new evidence shows that the United States never actually made such a pledge.
Most economists agree that the global economy is stagnating and that governments need to stimulate growth, but lowering interest rates still further could spur a damaging cycle of booms and busts. Instead, central banks should hand consumers cash directly.
Washington’s current efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria will not break the stalemate. The only way to restore peace without committing U.S. troops is to build a new Syrian army capable of defeating both the Assad regime and the extremists.
Global investors usually focus on economic data such as GDP growth, employment, and trade. But in today’s trying economic climate, they have started to train their gaze elsewhere: on national political leadership and the prospects for reform.
Reviews & Responses
Will Chinese economic development ultimately lead to political development? In his new book, Age of Ambition, the journalist Evan Osnos discovers what might be the missing link: the emergence in Chinese society of a search for dignity.
A successful right-wing campaign in India to suppress the work of Wendi Doniger, a prominent scholar of Hinduism, suggests that conservative voices are gaining the upper hand in the country’s long struggle between secular liberalism and religious nationalism.