THE FT COLUMN: Global split pits metro elites against populist hinterland
The same divide increasingly defines politics outside the West, spanning places with very different cultures: Turkey, Thailand, Brazil, Egypt and Israel, writes Gideon Rachman
The struggle to understand the Trump phenomenon has created a small library of books about Middle America. But it might be just as useful to look at Thailand or Turkey, for the rise of the US president is part of a political phenomenon — visible all over the world — that is pitting "metropolitan elites" against pitchfork-wielding populists based in small towns and the countryside. In the 2016 US election Donald Trump lost in all of the US’s largest cities but was carried to the White House by the rest of the country. This flame-out in big-city America replicated the pattern of Britain’s Brexit referendum earlier that year, when the Leave campaign won despite losing in almost all big cities. The urban-rural split was also an educational divide. In the UK, voters who had left school without educational qualifications voted 73% for Leave, while those with postgraduate degrees voted 75% Remain. There was a similar pattern in the US, leading Trump to exult, on the campaign trail: "We lov...