Bolsonaro has been defeated. This is good for Brazilian citizens, for the Amazon and for the Planet. Like Bolsonaro, Trump is also a global public bad and democratic administrations in the US today are a global public good.
Stopping climate change needs at least a democratic majority in the US, a normal government in Brazil and a European Union committed with a zero-carbon economy. Governments and legislatures committed with global collective goods not only have direct positive effects on stopping the climate emergency, fighting autocrats or stopping tax competition, but also indirect effects in that they discourage opportunists from joining their ranks.
The friends in Anne Applebaum’s party that later joined the ranks of national populism would not have done so if national populists were not winning elections. Members of center left or center right parties, no matter how experienced or educated they are, are more likely to join national populist forces when these win elections. There are few cases of politicians or activists that switch parties in favor of declining political forces.
The electoral success of national populists normalizes extreme voices, voices that divide societies and may even trigger violence.
As David Axelrod has said there are those who will dismiss the meaning of the assault on Pelosi as the act of a lone, unsettled man. But he was echoing far-right conspiracy theories, legitimated by cynical people for their own purposes. “There were many hands on that hammer.”
There is the case of a Catalan opportunistic and cynical politician who, while joining a national populist regional government, says that he is a social democrat without a party. I wonder how many friends of Anne Applebaum’s say that they are center righ without a party. One day he says he is against Catalan Independence, and two days later he says he might have no option but be pro-independence.
Governements in the hands of national populists empower those that divide societies, no matter how moderate they turn when the election approaches. Sometimes they will win, as in Italy, but we must try to minimize their victories and start a strong opposition from day one if they reach power.
In the absence of democratic global enforcing powers that use legitimate coercion to provide global public goods, we rely on the voluntary contribution of national democracies to them.