The proliferating "crisis-of-democracy" literature, like The Fast and the Furious franchise, has only one plot. And, like the crash-up car-chase movies, it has not let this fact slow its growth. Likely none of these books would exist—certainly none would be remotely the same—if Hillary Clinton had pulled a hundred thousand more votes out of the Midwest in 2016. All are organized around the shock of Trump's victory and allege a national and international crisis of democracy. Just what is the crisis? What is missing from these works, and the commentariat that they represent, is a genuine reckoning with twenty-first-century questions: whether we have ever been democratic, and whether the versions of capitalism that have emerged in the last forty years are compatible with democracy. The crisis-of-democracy literature largely presumes that these debates have been settled, so that any doubts about that settlement must be symptoms of confusion or bad faith. That is why these books do not rise to the crisis that occasions them.


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pp. 120-128
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