The recent election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote have belied dominant predictions based on a long-held view that sees the occasional electoral victories of xenophobic and extreme right-wing movements in Western countries as mere bumps in a journey leading to a liberal, cosmopolitan world. However, the popular vote in two of the most advanced democracies in the world, along with the rise of racist demagogues in several European states seem to signal a worrying and growing success of populist ideologies resting on racism and anti-globalism, political authoritarianism and social conservatism. And an equally worrying shift towards “illiberal democracy”, i.e. a type of regime where democratically elected leaders enact legislations that suspend or limit civil liberties, press freedom or the independence of courts.
Cartoon (c) David Parkins