The 20 Percent World: Dissaffection

Look around the politics of the Western world, and you’ll see that a lot of once-unthinkable ideas and fringe candidates suddenly have a genuine chance of succeeding. The odds are usually somewhere around one in five — not probable, but possible. This “20 percent world” is going to set the tone in democracies on both sides of the Atlantic — not least because, as anybody who bets on horse racing will tell you, eventually one of these longshots is going to canter home.

.. Corruption and inefficiency — whether in the form of America’s money politics or the EU’s lack of accountability — partly explain why the ills of the Western world have not been solved. But another reason is that problems like inequality don’t lend themselves to easy or swift resolution. A generation doesn’t become educated overnight; an economic realignment brought about by technology doesn’t resolve itself in short order. In other words, the 20 percent world is here to stay. Get used to it.