Fintan O’Toole: Five reasons to be cheerful about the future

Covid-19 has turned the tide against right-wing nationalism and ‘strongman’ leaders

Asleep at the wheel? US president Donald Trump hosting a roundtable discussion at the White House this week. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

Asleep at the wheel? US president Donald Trump hosting a roundtable discussion at the White House this week. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there was a widespread assumption that it would be bad for liberal democracy. Authoritarian regimes, with their ability to issue orders and to enforce them through fear, would, the theory went, cope better than those in open societies.

This turned out to be entirely untrue – even early on, democracies like South Korea and Taiwan were clearly dealing very well with the crisis. And as the pandemic has unfolded, it has created, along with all the suffering, five reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the prospects for progressive politics.

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