Ever since Brexiters and Donald Trump won in 2016, the worlds big-picture political story has been that democracy is under siege. This summer, Jair Bolsonaros victory in Brazil, Narenda Modis Kashmir crackdown and dramatic electoral gains for the anti-immigrant Alternative fur Deutschland in eastern Germany have only amplified widespread beliefs about the inexorable advance of the authoritarian right.
This general story line is dangerously true, but an intriguing counter-narrative may be starting to appear: Small-D democrats are starting to play offense. Not that you would know it, as American media obsess over Trump and the countless Democratic presidential candidates.
Still, a handful of remarkable political events has occurred during the five weeks since Aug. 28. That day, Italys hard-right hatemonger, Matteo Salvini, was outmaneuvered and ousted by his erstwhile partners, the neither-left-nor-right Five Star Movement, and the left-of-center Democratic Party.