A Bernie Sanders rally in Queens, April 2016.
Lucas Jackson / Reuters

For all their differences, populists on left and right, both in the United States and in Europe, blame mainstream parties for creating a world of crisis, inequality, and insecurity. The story differs from country to country, but in the United States, the white working class, a traditional mainstay of the Democratic Party, propelled Donald Trump to the presidency.

The mainstream center-left might well have lost voters it would have otherwise claimed because it had grown too rich for its own good, as New York Times opinion-page contributor Thomas B. Edsall and others have argued. With widespread corporate support, endorsements from the likes of former Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson, and a majority among the richest voters, the argument goes, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton paid too little attention to working-class whites or socialist-leaning youth.

But ideas about the economy also shape the directions of politicians and even how the rest

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