So what is it that sets urbanites against the rest? The anti-Trump, anti-Brexit, anti-Erdogan, anti-Orban city dwellers tend to be richer and better educated than their political opponents. By contrast, the rallying cry that unites fans of Mr Trump, Brexit, Mr Erdogan or Mr Orban is some version of a promise to make their countries “great again”. Urbanites are also more likely to have travelled or studied abroad, or to be recent immigrants. More than one-third of the populations of New York and London, for example, were born overseas.
It is tempting to describe cities as bastions of liberalism and the hinterlands as reactionary. While that might be true when it comes to social values, there is also an incipient tendency for outvoted urbanites to sour on democracy.
In Egypt, many of the urban middle classes, who had campaigned for democracy in 2011, ended up supporting a military coup two years later because they feared the elected Muslim Brotherhood government was turning the country into a theocracy. In Thailand in 2014, a military coup that ended red shirt rule seemed to enjoy considerable support from Bangkok’s middle classes. In Brazil, at the moment, the professional classes of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro tend to be in favour of the imprisonment on corruption charges of the leftist, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, even though he might well win the presidency again, if he were allowed to run later this year.