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Why fringe groups are winning around the world

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Jenn, Alex, and returning special guest Alina Polyakova discuss what a presidential election in Brazil and a stunning political announcement in Germany have in common: the collapse of centrist leadership worldwide. The center-left and center-right have broadly governed world affairs since World War II, but a mix of economic problems and growing immigration have led fringe groups to gain power around the globe. It’s a potentially dangerous development that threatens to upend how the world has mostly governed itself for more than 70 years. Jenn usurps Zack’s traditional hosting role, Alex somehow fails to make a soccer reference, and Alina corrects many of Alex’s bad takes. We based the episode around Alex’s piece on the decline of centrist leadership around the world. Alex mentioned the Bretton Woods agreement that led to many of the world’s global institutions. Alina noted how the European Union rose from the ashes of World War II. International relations theory nerds will appreciate the “End of History” reference. We didn’t have enough time to talk about Brazil’s “Operation Car Wash,” but watching this Vox video will get you up to speed. Jair Bolsonaro made a horrifying statement that he would rather have a dead son than a homosexual one. Bolsonaro has had so many sexist moments, a compilation video was made. And yes, Bolsonaro praised the country’s dark past with torture as he voted to impeach former President Dilma Rousseff — who herself was tortured. For more on Bolsonaro, read Jen Kirby’s piece for Vox. Millennials around the globe don’t seem to think democracy is that important, as Alina pointed out. Read about the two October elections — one in Bavaria and the other in Hesse — that doomed Angela Merkel. Here’s why Merkel has been the vanguard for status-quo, centrist politics, and why that led to her downfall. Merkel’s troubles began in 2015 when she let in more than a million refugees. 

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