Magazine May 4, 2020, Issue

Progressive Populism’s Dashed Hopes

Bernie Sanders campaigns in Ann Arbor, Mich., March 8, 2020. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
The Populist’s Guide to 2020: A New Right and New Left Are Rising, by Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti (Strong Arm Press, 244 pp., $19.99)

Timing is everything for election-cycle treatises, which tend to have a shorter shelf life than do other political books. Praise a candidate’s legacy too late or envisage a political party’s emerging strength too early and you submit your thesis to the unpredictability of the voters. Such is the case with Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti’s manifesto, The Populist’s Guide to 2020: A New Right and New Left Are Rising, which was released in February. The nascent revolution at its heart — the supposed left–right populist “realignment” that animates the duo’s project — risks being crushed in the crib.

Ball, a former

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