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While many observers were shocked if not horrified by the election of Donald Trump, Italians were feeling a sense of déjà vu at what they saw happening across the pond. Pundits have tended to disregard developments in Italian politics in the last two decades, seeing the Italian experience as the product of idiosyncrasies of a rather peculiar country. However, time has shown that Italy’s flaws were not particularly idiosyncratic, as liberal democracy has come to face severe challenges in many Western countries. A trip through the past two decades of Italian political history could thus be most revealing as to what we may expect in other democracies that today are under stress.

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