The Ezra Klein Show
The Ezra Klein Show
New York Times Opinion
Best Of: A Powerful Theory of Why the Far Right Is Thriving Across the Globe
In last November's midterm elections, voters placed the Republican Party in charge of the House of Representatives. In 2024, it’s very possible that Republicans will take over the Senate as well and voters will elect Donald Trump — or someone like him — as president. But the United States isn’t alone in this regard. Over the course of 2022, Italy elected a far-right prime minister from a party with Fascist roots; a party founded by neo-Nazis and skinheads won the second-highest number of seats in Sweden’s Parliament; Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party in Hungary won its fourth consecutive election by a landslide; Marine Le Pen won 41 percent of the vote in the final round of France’s presidential elections; and Jair Bolsonaro came dangerously close to winning re-election in Brazil. Why are these populist uprisings happening simultaneously, in countries with such diverse cultures, economies and political systems? Pippa Norris is a political scientist at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where she has taught for three decades. In that time, she’s written dozens of books on topics ranging from comparative political institutions to right-wing parties and the decline of religion. And in 2019 she and Ronald Inglehart published “Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit and Authoritarian Populism,” which gives the best explanation of the far right’s rise that I’ve read. In this conversation, taped in November 2022, we discuss what Norris calls the “silent revolution in cultural values” that has occurred across advanced democracies in recent decades, why the best predictor of support for populist parties is the generation people were born into, why the “transgressive aesthetic” of leaders like Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro is so central to their appeal, how demographic and cultural “tipping points” have produced conservative backlashes across the globe, the difference between “demand-side” and “supply-side” theories of populist uprising, the role that economic anxiety and insecurity play in fueling right-wing backlashes, why delivering economic benefits might not be enough for mainstream leaders to stave off populist challenges and more. Mentioned: Sacred and Secular by Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart “Exploring drivers of vote choice and policy positions among the American electorate” Book Recommendations: Popular Dictatorships by Aleksandar Matovski Spin Dictators by Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt Thoughts? Email us at (And if you're reaching out to recommend a guest, please write “Guest Suggestion" in the subject line.) You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Roge Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
1 hr 31 min
WNYC Studios
The Good Samaritan
Tuesday afternoon, summer of 2017: Scotty Hatton and Scottie Wightman made a decision to help someone in need and both paid a price for their actions that day — actions that have led to a legal, moral, and scientific puzzle about how we balance accountability and forgiveness. In this 2019 episode, we go to Bath County, Kentucky, where, as one health official put it, opioids have created “a hole the size of Kentucky.” We talk to the people on all sides of this story about stemming the tide of overdoses. We wrestle with the science of poison and fear, and we try to figure out whether and when the drive to protect and help those around us should rise above the law. Special thanks to Earl Willis, Bobby Ratliff, Ronnie Goldie, Megan Fisher, Alan Caudill, Nick Jones, Dan Wermerling, Terry Bunn, Robin Thompson and the staff at KIPRC, Charles Landon, Charles P Gore, Jim McCarthy, Ann Marie Farina, Dr. Jeremy Faust and Dr. Ed Boyer, Justin Brower, Kathy Robinson, Zoe Renfro, John Bucknell, Chris Moraff, Jeremiah Laster, Tommy Kane, Jim McCarthy, Sarah Wakeman, and Al Tompkins. CDC recommendations on helping people who overdose: Find out where to get naloxone: It is also now available over-the-counter. ( EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Peter Andrey Smith with Matt Kielty Produced by - Matt Kielty Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab ( today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
1 hr 11 min
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