The Trump phenomenon, which has onlookers in Europe and elsewhere agog at the latest American folly, isn’t really exceptional at all. American politics in 2016 has taken a big step toward politics in the rest of the world. The ebbing tide of the white working and middle classes in America joins its counterpart in Great Britain, the Brexit vote; Marine Le Pen’s Front National, in France; and the Alternative für Deutschland party, which has begun to threaten Angela Merkel’s centrist coalition in Germany. To Russians, Trump sounds like his role model, President Vladimir Putin; to Indians, Trump echoes the Hindu nationalism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Even the radical nostalgia of Islamists around the Muslim world bears more than a passing resemblance to the longing of Trump supporters for an America purified and restored to an imagined glory. One way or another, they all represent a reaction against modernity, with its ceaseless anxiety and churn.
George Packer, “The Unconnected”, The New Yorker (31 October 2016), 60.