The year of voting recklessly

It used to be the case that the respectable left disdained Corbyn for all the reasons cited above, and then some. It won’t be long before this same left begins to embrace him and everything that goes with him, much as the Paul Ryans of the world have embraced Trump and Trumpism.

Why? The word that usually serves to explain it is “normalization.” As Raskolnikov puts it in Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment,” “Man gets used to everything, the scoundrel!”

But there’s no need to normalize what you already like. All you need to do is raise it to the surface. Neither Corbyn nor Trump would have come as far as they did if they hadn’t seized control of their parties by stroking some inner ideological id.

They wouldn’t have gotten far if disdain for comparative bores such as David Miliband or Jeb Bush hadn’t been matched by a fetish for “authentic” jerks. We now have a Western politics in which the center bends toward the fringe, not the other way around.

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