The 2016 presidential election season has been anything but ordinary. So much in the Democratic and Republican primaries consistently defied conventional wisdom and upended the predictions of experts. It seems that the usual rules don’t apply this year.
Are we seeing a fundamental shift in American politics, or at least in the Republican Party? How do these new electoral dynamics relate to a host of profound and ongoing changes in the country—deep-seated political polarization, a fragmented and broken media landscape, changes in the mode of campaigning, the shrinking power of our political parties? How will history evaluate an economic recovery that has left behind a stagnating and politically seething middle class, diminished social mobility, and exacerbated inequality? What do demographic changes portend for the future, and how long-lived will the resurgence of populism prove to be?
This series will attempt, with the help of experts, to make sense of an election that defies all historical precedent and to take stock of the health of American democracy.