The Populist Explosion

How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics
Joseph Sohm /
Oct. 7, 2016

In the spring and summer of 2016, the world's richest democracies witnessed a collective upheaval that shocked the globe. As if overnight, many Democrats backed a socialist named Bernie Sanders; the United Kingdom voted to the leave the European Union, in a stunning rebuke; the nativist billionaire Donald Trump became the presidential nominee of the Republican Party; and a slew of extreme parties continued to win election after election in countries like Norway, Austria, and Greece.

A new book by John B. Judis, The Populist Explosiontraces the phenomenon of populism back to its roots in the 1890s United States and sees it in a new light: as a warning sign for the ideological crises to come. What started in the United States spread to Europe and back again. As the EU grapples with the aftershock of Brexit, the U.S. must also come to terms with the implications of the rise of Sanders and Trump: growing numbers of people are insisting that our standard worldview is breaking down and in desperate need of repair.

New America NYC presented a conversation with Talking Points Memo editor at large John B. Judis and New America co-founder Michael Lind on the social and economic upheaval roiling politics on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Atlantic.