In his column Friday, the New York Times' Paul Krugman argued that racist, xenophobic phenomena like Donald Trump in the United States and Marine Le Pen in France are the result of "the way [in which] the strategies elites have traditionally used to keep a lid on those angry white voters finally breaking down."
According to Krugman, "there is a strong element of bait-and-switch to this strategy," as "[w]hatever dog whistles get sent during the campaign, once in power the G.O.P. has made serving the interests of a small, wealthy economic elite." Trump's success stems from the fact that he's "saying bluntly the things establishment candidates try to convey in coded, deniable hints, and sounding as if he really means them."
He continued, arguing that "[s]ooner or later the angry whites who make up a large fraction, maybe even a majority, of the G.O.P. base were bound to rebel -- especially because these days much of the party’s leadership seems inbred and out of touch," adding only that
In offering these explanations of the rise of Mr. Trump and Ms. Le Pen, I am not making excuses for what they say, which remains surpassingly ugly and very much at odds with the values of two great democratic nations.
What I am saying, however, is that this ugliness has been empowered by the very establishments that now act so horrified at the seemingly sudden turn of events. In Europe the problem is the arrogance and rigidity of elite figures who refuse to learn from economic failure; in the U.S. it’s the cynicism of Republicans who summoned up prejudice to support their electoral prospects. And now both are facing the monsters they helped create...