The Atlantic

Will Political Normality Return in 2017?

If 2016 was the year of populist victories, there are signs this year will be different.
Source: Neil Hall / Reuters

If 2016 was the year that populist protest triumphed in Britain (Brexit) and the United States (Trump), 2017 is shaping up as the year that political normality reasserts itself. Three events in three different Western democracies confirm that some of the familiar laws of political gravity do still operate.

The most spectacular of the events is unfolding in the United Kingdom. The Conservative party under Prime Minister Theresa May is rolling toward a crushing victory over a Labour party that veered to the hard left under Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn joins radical views and stated sympathies with extremists—IRA, Islamist, and pro-Russian—to a personal befuddlement nicely captured in a Vice documentary that showed him autographing apples in permanent marker to distribute to admirers. (Who wants an autographed apple? You can neither eat it as a snack nor save it as a memento.) The befuddlement might be endearing were it not laid atop a paranoid management team staffed by the hardest of the British hard left. As an incredulous Politico reported of Corbyn’s chief of communications, Seumas Milne:

Milne has made a point

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min readPolitics
The Lessons of Jeremy Corbyn’s Defeat
Labour’s crushing loss in the British election poses a stark question about its future: Will Corbynism survive without Corbyn?
The Atlantic3 min read
A World War II Biopic That Raises Pressing Modern Questions
Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life tells the story of an Austrian farmer’s defiance in the face of a regime that contradicted his deepest beliefs.
The Atlantic13 min read
The Case for Buying a House With Friends
“Looking around our culture, I think a lot of people are starting to experience the limits of individualism.”