The Economist’s latest cover is striking–both visually and for the headline that accompanies the white, black and blue illustration of Donald Trump, France’s Marine Le Pen and Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban. “Playing with fear,” it reads.
Inside, The Economist looks at the growing popularity of right-wing populists in Europe and the United States, putting Ted Cruz and Ben Carson in “less offensive, but only marginally less extreme” company with Trump.
And while it may seem that political history cycles through and then pulls back from its more extreme moments, The Economist sees this latest cycle as alarmingly unique, writing, “Support for the populist right in America and parts of Europe is unparalleled since the second world war. Against the backdrop of terrorism, these fearmongers pose a serious threat to the openness and tolerance that Western societies take for granted.”
The publication sees its mission as a sharp counter to the populist message. The Economist’s own message is addressed directly to the people as well, encouraging them to take an alternate path than the one prosed by Trump et. al.
This newspaper stands for pretty much everything the populists despise: open markets, open borders, globalisation and the free movement of people. We do not expect to convince populist leaders of our arguments. But voters are reasonable—and most of them would sooner hear something more optimistic than rage against a dangerous world.
I guess we shall see next year.