At Quadrant, I think about Donald Trump and voter anger in the United States and how the profoundly broken American political system makes this anger different from that of the past:
The American public senses that the country’s political system no longer has any working parts left. I’m sure you could have found citizens during the John Adams administration who thought that Washington, D.C. was ‘broken’. But the U.S. federal government has never been as large and intrusive, and thus as capable of wrecking our lives, as it is now. Consider its priorities. The government regulates our lightbulbs, but allows entire cities to ignore federal immigration law. It can efficiently target partially hydrogenated oils, but not terrorist enclaves. Never before has there been so wide a gap between what families complain about to one another and what the permanent bureaucracy in the capital chooses to exercise its power over. These topsy-turvy conditions, in which the government is ruthlessly effective at all the wrong things and utterly hopeless at all the important ones, mean the citizenry has no healthy political means of discharging its anger.