We write just a few days after the 2016 American Presidential election. About half of those who voted were pleased with the result. The other half were displeased: approximately 60 million on each side. It’s not clear that a dispassionate observer would grasp that fact, however. For the loudest, most strident, most uncompromising voices are heard almost exclusively from one side of this divide: the losing side.

This is not the place to comment on the politics of the election. But the extraordinary response from those whose candidate lost an open, democratic contest reminds us that elections can uncover cultural as well as political fault lines. Especially since The New Criterion is well embarked on a year-long series of essays about the perils and promises of populism, it seems appropriate to step back and consider the significance of some of those ...