The liberal left has a massive problem on its hands these days: it misreads the tea leaves. The broad political left often thinks that what it desires is what the rest of the masses want. And often, now, in elections from Europe to South and North America, we find that voters hanker for something different, something the intelligentsia refuses to acknowledge or see.

I was in London on the eve of the June 23 2016 Brexit vote in the UK. London, home of global finance and the intelligentsia, was calm. Because Londoners believed in globalisation and its positive impacts (which they enjoy), they assumed that the entire UK believed the same thing and would vote accordingly.

They didn’t see defeat staring them in the face.

They discounted the nationalistic, lying, right-wing political leaders who were pushing the Brexit line and their appeal to the baser instincts of voters outside of the metropoles. Fifty-two percent of British voters supported leaving the European Union, taking their cue from the right-wing nationalist and fascist Nigel Farage rather than moderate voices of reason. Just last week, Brazilians voted for a xenophobic, racist, homophobic, nationalist, right-wing bigot who supports torture to lead them. The left was aghast (and caught by surprise) that Jair Bolsonaro won. Across Europe, with Angela Merkel of Germany exiting left, the populist right is alive and sniffing at power. This week the US goes to crucial midterm elections. Although all 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be voted for, plus another 35 seats in the 100-member Senate (members serve six-year terms), these are not just “local” elections. How things pan out on Tuesday will determine whether President Donald ...

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