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How did Trump politics happen? Economists have answers. They’re not pretty.

“Versions of Trump and the kind of politics he represents are popping up everywhere.”

That’s the seminal — and alarming —  analysis of New York Times Economic Scene columnist Eduardo Porter

“Everywhere” is best illustrated by recent political upheavals in Europe where nativist political parties have made impressive gains in Denmark, Finland, France and Austria. Which leads Eduardo Porter to conclude that, “Mr. Trump perhaps can best be understood as the face of a broader global dynamic: the resistance to policies that encourage global competition and open borders to people who have lived too long on the losing side.”

Resistance such as Trump’s proposed massive wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mr. Porter presents related analytical comments from experts on international economics:

Harold James, at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, alluding to similar discontent in the 1930s: “Backlashes against globalization promoted a zero-sum game thinking: To protect ourselves, we must do so at the expense of somebody else. It increases nationalism and the willingness to go to war.”

Paul De Grave, professor of European political economy at the London School of Economics:

“There is something cyclical here … The intellectuals have apparently failed. So you get guys like Trump that come up with statements that have nothing to do with facts.”

To be fair to aggrieved citizens, Porter suggests that “In the absence of actions to mitigate the damage and more broadly share the bounty of globalization, it’s no surprise that righteous anger against the establishment has opened the door to unorthodox political entrepreneurs … After a couple of decades in which wages have gone nowhere for all but the most fortunate workers, American voters seem willing to give nativist populism a try.” 

Of course, there are many other issues — related and un-related — to be examined in the coming U.S. presidential campaign.  For U.S. voters deep reflection — always a responsibility — has rarely been more critical.