The election of Donald Trump has highlighted the depth and breadth of a global rise in extremist pseudo-populist politics on the Right. Racism, globalization, and media manipulation are commonly used to explain this rise. While these are all significant for understanding contemporary politics, these explanations overlook the role of uneven development and changing political institutions in shifting left-wing voters to the right. It is this shift that ultimately matters for both the left and a political sociology of contemporary democracy.
Michael McQuarrie is a political sociologist at the London School of Economics. His research is concerned with social movements, urban governance, and civil society. He is finishing a book on the rise and fall of community as a category of worth in urban politics and he is starting research on the contemporary politics of the devalorized territories of the Rust Belt. Prior to going to graduate school he worked as a labor organizer and a community organizer in the Rust Belt.