A big part of the homework the political center needs to do after Brexit, Donald Trump's triumph and the rise in nationalist populism across Europe is to define the sources of growing popular resentment against the "elite." That distrust is behind recent election surprises and what disoriented media professionals have dubbed a "post-truth" attitude toward the news. Fixing it could be the key to future stability.

Three strains of anti-elite resentment are apparent. One is economic, related to income inequality. Populist politicians, however, would fail if they only channeled economic anger. Bernie Sanders failed in the United States, Jeremy Corbyn isn't doing too well in the United Kingdom and leftist firebrands aren't big achievers anywhere except, with some caveats, Greece.

The second strain has to do with the perception of the elite as a closed network, based on background and connections rather than education and achievement. You can't break into the elite even if you're smart and have gone to the best schools, unless you're already part of it by origin. A third strain is the view that elites stand in opposition to national identity. This criticism of elites is interconnected with the economic roots of populism and the invisible barriers to social mobility.