Obama’s identity-politics warning is better late than never

Obama is also right when he says that “strongman politics are ascendant suddenly, whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained — the form of it — but those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning.”

Obama implied that this is only a phenomenon of the Right, and was almost surely taking a veiled shot at Donald Trump.

But this is a problem of the Left, too. The right-wing populism galloping across Europe is in no small part a response to the undemocratic tactics of the European Union, which looks at democratic accountability with a sovereign disdain.

More importantly, many nationalist-populist voters backed Trump in part out of their understandable frustration with the way “the establishment” ignored the will of voters and even constitutional prohibitions. Obama, for example, said he couldn’t award amnesty to the children of illegal immigrants because the Constitution prevented him. Then he did it anyway.