Answering an age of anxiety

Happy Thursday!

Earlier this week, I had a chance to sit down with the brilliant writer and journalist Masha Gessen to talk about democracy, autocracy, and a world in crisis. Now I want to hear what you think.

Toward the end of the interview, Masha said this:

What we need is recognition on the part of politicians that people all over the world are in this state of extreme anxiety, for very good reasons, and they need to be addressed as "my dears." We can't just leave it to the bad guys to address the anxieties.

What do you think? Why have demagogues and autocrats so often outcompeted democratic leaders in speaking to anxieties about globalization, economic change, racial and gender progress, demographic churn, and more? Could democratic leaders do better at recognizing and speaking to these anxieties, and not only in the cold jargon of policy? What would that even look like?

These open threads are usually reserved for paid subscribers to The Ink, but today is an exception. A good moment to say: If you’ve been holding out on us, sign up today and chime in!

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One day, Vladimir Putin will no longer lead Russia. And, according to the writer and journalist Masha Gessen, there may then no longer be a country called Russia to lead. This was one of many startling analyses I heard in my conversation the other day with Gessen, a Moscow-born, New York-based…
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