An outsider runs for political office in a hotly contested election. He has a closet full of skeletons the conventional wisdom views as a liability, but he regards as an asset. He preys on distrust of the government, vowing to obliterate “politics as usual.” Against a backdrop of demographic change and economic disruption, the candidate exploits a once-dominant group’s fears of being left behind. His behavior may be unorthodox, but it is authentic and even reassuring to his base.
Sound familiar? While this quote could characterize U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s rise, it could just as easily describe many of the “non-traditional” (criminal) politicians I researched for my book. As I write in a new column for the Diplomat, their “playbook is strikingly similar to the one Donald Trump executed with aplomb to win the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
You can read the full piece here.