Why this is not 1914 … or is it?

Just read an interesting commentary on the US elections at Project Syndicate by Robert Skidelsky. Thanks to the ever vigilant Duncan Green (@fp2p on Twitter) for spotting it.

Titled “Slouching towards Trump”, it assesses whether Trump heralds a return to the situation of 1914. It does not according to the author, but it offers interesting opportunities. As Skidelsky writes (emphasis added by me):

As Trump moves from populism to policy, liberals should not turn away in disgust and despair, but rather engage with Trumpism’s positive potential. His proposals need to be interrogated and refined, not dismissed as ignorant ravings. The task of liberals is to ensure that a third coming of liberalism arrives with the least cost to liberal values.

While I do think Skidelsky is essentially right, there are red lines which should not be crossed. There are proposals that should not ever be considered. It is essential that brave politicians, all over the world, draw these lines now. Some costs cannot be accepted, ever.

Once that is clear, and within those boundary conditions, we can interrogate and refine all we want. We just cannot go outside those boundaries, and we need to stick to the issues that are relevant to the electorate. In as far as we have a good view on what the electorate really wants.