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Dysfunction Junction

Trouble on the Home Front

The U.S. Capitol, September 30, 2013. Kevin Lamarque / Courtesy Reuters

American politics today are marked by dysfunction, discontent, and ideological churn on both sides of the aisle. 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.

Francis Fukuyama kicks off our special package with a magisterial analysis of U.S. political decay, showing how today’s problems stem from the basic design of the country’s political institutions and have been exacerbated by increasingly hostile polarization. His conclusion is depressing: absent some sort of major external shock, the decay is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Yascha Mounk looks at the rise of populism in the United States and Europe. Far from being the product of a temporary economic crisis, he finds, the Tea Party and its European cousins have emerged from the enduring inability of democratic

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