Hopefully it has become clear enough that I do not mean to suggest that somehow populism is not real or does not pose a threat to democracies. Thank you for collaborating with the OpenMind community! Just remember how Hillary Clinton’s remark about “deplorables” backfired. Today, the deeper meaning of every election in Europe (or perhaps even around the globe) appears to be exhausted by the answer to one question: “Is it a win or a defeat for populism?” Until the Dutch vote in March 2017, an image of an irresistible populist wave – or, as Nigel Farage put it, a populist “tsunami” – dominated the public conversation; especially after Emmanuel Macron’s big wins in both the presidential and the legislative elections in France in spring 2017, we are frequently told that we are already living in a “post-populist moment.” Both diagnoses are wrong and merit the very label which is usually stuck on populism itself: “simplistic.”. economic insecurity alone has fueled the rise of populism is inconclusive. It exists more subtly among the populist-leaning mainstream parties on the political right, although some of them are dabbling more openly in this toxic ideology. Secondly, it can help populists if a country has already been experiencing something like a “culture war.” Populists will try everything to confirming their supporters in the belief that they, and they alone, are “the real people” and that those on the other side of the “war” do not truly belong and/or are fundamentally immoral. All of these choices are correct. For regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, funds from the European Union have been equivalent to oil for some Arab authoritarian states: governments can strategically employ the subsidies to buy support or at least keep citizens quiet. To be sure, anyone can criticize the US election system – in fact, there’s clearly plenty to criticize. The most obvious examples of our time are Chávez and Maduro. Populist politicians thrive on fake news: it is so much easier to fuel people’s emotions if you feed them fabricated news of imaginary crises. The EU is a historically unprecedented supra-national unification project (Spolaore 2013). The EU is a historically unprecedented supra-national unification project (Spolaore 2013). Economic populism mobilizes the poor or working class against economic elites in pursuit of a more equitable distribution of wealth and concentrates political power in the hands of the populist leader. In particular, it conflates economic insecurity being important in explaining the overall populist vote and being Witness a remark by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he was “merely the medium” and that “it is the people whose voice is resonating.” This is not offering the people different visions of different principles on the basis of which they might live together in the future; rather, it is pretending that the people have always already spoken and that the populist is actually just following their lead. How the 'Places That Don't Matter' Fueled Populism. Politics and culture mediate the effect of any It was the latter who told a CNN reporter in summer 2016, during the Republican convention, that he did not trust statistics on crime, but believed in what people feel. History suggests that authoritarian leaders often distract attention from their failings by demonizing opponents at home and abroad, contending that only they can stave off their nation’s enemies. If nothing else, populists have used protest to prolong and deepen the culture wars on which all populists thrive: they point to a minority of protesters that is allegedly not part of the real people – in fact, the protestors are actively betraying the homeland, according to the populists – and reassure their own supporters that they are the real, righteous people. Much is at stake. During the interwar period, they opted for working with authoritarian and even fascist parties – in many places democracy died as a consequence. I make a distinction between the deep causes of populism, and the political narratives around which they get wrapped. Less obvious is that populists insinuate that all citizens who do not share their conception of “the people” and hence, logically, do not support the populists, should have their status as belonging to the proper people put into doubt. Our era is characterized by an increasing conflict between two sides: one the one hand those who want more openness — which takes the clichéd versions of economic and cultural globalization, but can also mean the recognition of ethnic, sexual and religious minorities in one’s own country – in other words, it doesn’t have to be something to do with the international, and it does not neatly map onto a conceptual distinction between globalism and localism.5 On the other hand, of course, are those who want more closure. Instead of immediately having such mono-causal explanations ready, one should pause to remember the actual central claim by populists: they tell us that they are the only ones who represent the real, virtuous people, and all the others are corrupt elites. Call it identity populism. According to the text, the most recent populist movements have been fueled by Multiple Choice globalization. Kate Connolly in Berlin. One is complete exclusion – not least the kind of moral exclusion which populists themselves practice (along the lines of: “We good democrats won’t even appear on TV together with populists” or “when populists ask a question in parliament, I walk out,” etc.). Expert Answer . No matter – in this case the government could simply pretend that those who had stayed away from the vote were actually a silent majority in favor of “No;” hence, nothing would prevent Orbán from asserting that, at last, the people themselves had been allowed to speak on the question of European refugee policies – and that they did not like the proposals by the “liberal nihilists” in Brussels (Orbán) one bit. It might have seemed from what has been said so far that populists all live in a kind of political fantasy world and hence are bound to fail in practice. In this respect, Donald Trump’s rhetoric during the 2015-2016 presidential campaign was an extreme case – but he was not really an exception. Rather, the hallmark of populists is that they claim that they, and they alone, represent the people (or what populists very often refer to as “the real people”). After all, populist parties that do not do so well at the polls have to face an obvious contradiction: how can it be the case that the populists are the people’s only morally legitimate representatives and yet fail to gain overwhelming majorities at the ballot box? In October 2016, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán held a referendum on the question whether the EU could settle refugees in Hungary without the consent of the country’s parliament. All failures of populists in government can still be blamed on elites acting behind the scenes, whether at home or abroad (here again we find the not so accidental connection between populism and conspiracy theories). If the latter are telling us that it’s all about “losers of globalization,” we simply repeat that assertion. Populism comes in left- and right-wing forms and is often paired with other ideologies; in France, Le Pen and Melenchon could both be described as populists. The 2008 financial meltdown caused millions of Americans to lose their homes, and the austerity measures that followed only widened income inequality and helped fuel the rise of right-wing populism. Hungary’s Fidesz has built up a new group which combines economic success, family values (having children brings many benefits), and religious devotion into a whole that aligns with Orbán’s vision of a “Christian-national” culture. Orbán has been the pioneer of populism in power in Europe; he could never have built his by now in many ways authoritarian regime without the de facto cover provided by the EPP. Of course economics matters, but there is no auto-matic relationship between economic changes and political outcomes. to haunt the sentient world, undeterred by the bright dawn of democracy and neo-liberalism. All of these choices are correct. Lastly, let me at least gesture to a more fundamental conflict of our time which does not in and of itself “cause” populism, but which facilitates the role of populists in democratic politics. Hugo Chávez, for instance, would always point to the dark machinations of the opposition – that is to say, the officially deposed “oligarchy” – and to the US trying to sabotage his „twenty-first century socialism“. If it continues to extend its political reach, identity populism may increase the chances of armed conflict both between countries and within national borders. Such a perspective fails to see the distinction between populism as a claim to a moral monopoly on representing the real people and particular policy positions which have an affinity with right-wing populism – think of restrictions on immigration – but which are not populist as such. Download your FREE copy of The Global Rise of Populism today. What does the rise of Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro and Nicolas Maduro have in common? For all we know, they might have taken their countries in an authoritarian direction no matter what. From the Netherlands, to France, to the UK or the US, each country has recently grown its own variety of anti-establishment, populist, right-wing party that threatens to compromise the peace and unity that characterized the western world after World War II. Populism is dangerous and has shown overtime an irresistible propensity for war. While the United Nations may be a deeply flawed organization, that is no reason to delegitimize international institutions wholesale, given the risks. There’s another mistake when thinking about the electoral successes of populists. Why should those who obstruct the genuine popular will in the name of civil service neutrality not be purged? All rights reserved. The populism growing in Europe and North America today is a different form fueled by strident nationalism that is defined by ethnicity, race and religion. For one thing, while populist parties necessarily protest against elites, this does not mean that populism in government will become self-contradictory. What are your thoughts on identity populism? They promise instead to give voice to those who feel that they have been neglected, if not held in contempt, by increasingly distant elites. The chapter [1] argues that populism should not be understood as primarily a form of anti-elitism. Rather than seeing a postpopulist moment, we might be witnessing populists winning, even though they are nominally losing; after all, conservatives, rather than officially collaborating with them, are now simply copying their ideas. Data on authoritarian regimes show that until recently, coups have been the primary threats to democracy. Popular anxieties about immigration, economics, or cultural change are not sufficient to explain the surge in populist support. The irony was that Gove himself had long been seen as a kind of intellectual among Tories. However, as hinted above already, it is a mistake to take these grievances as somehow objectively given: who gets blamed for what when and how depends on the representational offerings by politicians, by civil society, family, etc. The end result is that political parties create a state to their own political liking, and in their own political image: a PiS state and a Fidesz state, if you will. In this conflict, the populists appear as actors who have answers ready; after all, they always do identity politics and they have an account of who the real people are, about who belongs and who doesn’t. The 10 years since the financial crisis have shown that the system of economic governance which has … Yet even in the US and Western Europe, the evidence that economic insecurity alone has fueled the rise of populism is inconclusive. But populist propaganda is hard to resist. Scroll down to comment on this article. The rise of populism is not new. Populist sentiment has been on the rise in Europe and the West for several years. Data on authoritarian regimes show that until recently, coups have been the primary threats to democracy. Finally, apart from collaboration or copying, there is an option for conservatives effectively to condone right-wing populism. It is also an emotional backlash to a sense of disenfranchisement. Clearly, the demonization of Hillary Clinton by many Republicans had something to do with this outcome – and that demonization had started long before Trump – in fact it had started when members of the American Right began to refer to Bill Clinton as “your president” in the 1990s, denying his legitimacy (Hillary Clinton already then spoke of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” against the Clintons – it wasn’t a conspiracy, but it’s hard to deny that many on the Right have dedicated their lives to discrediting the Clintons). Following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union as well economic insecurity alone has fueled the rise of populism is inconclusive. Arguably, the whole image of an unstoppable wave had already been called into question empirically with one counter-example: Austria, where the victory of Norbert Hofer had been widely predicted. This paper studies how populist candidacies were fueled by a public financial scandal, triggered … Yet even in the US and Western Europe, the evidence that economic insecurity alone has fueled the rise of populism is inconclusive. To start with, populists colonize or “occupy” the state. He needed the help of established conservatives such as Boris Johnson and Michael Gove (both now serve in Theresa May’s cabinet). This field cannot be empty, Please enter your comment. The Spectre of Populism “A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. But for them opposition from within civil society creates a particular symbolic challenge: it potentially undermines their claim to exclusive moral representation. But populist propaganda is hard to resist. 1 This chapter draws on the paperback edition of my book What is Populism? Then there is the other extreme: instead of excluding or at least ignoring them, one starts to run after populists. Media authorities were captured; the signal went out that journalists should not report in ways that violate the interests of the nation (which were equated with the interests of the governing party). One has only to look at Trump’s disdain for the United Nations and the European Union—both organizations explicitly created to lower the chances of interstate conflict. Trump, Brexit, and the rise of Populism 7/29/16 8:20 PM 4 cleavage based on the declining salience of economic issues in party manifestos and class voting in the electorate. Ans. Chávez benefited crucially from the oil boom. I shall also offer some hypotheses about the likely “causes” of populism and point to some possible strategies to counter populist actors. More important still, the campaign encouraged citizens to leave behind their accustomed circles and milieus, and instead enter conversations with people they would not normally meet – and, above all, it encouraged them not to deploy accusations of “racism” and “fascism” after the first five minutes of such conversations. As the German constitutional lawyer Christoph Möllers has put it, there is a difference between counting majorities and feeling majorities. Of course, wh… By definition, if the majority could express itself, the populists would always already be in power – but someone or something prevented the majority from making its voice heard. To be sure it is tempting to think that if populism is similar everywhere in involving a claim to a moral monopoly of representation, then the underlying causes must also be similar. Receive the OpenMind newsletter with all the latest contents published on our website, Tokyo University of Science, Tokio, Japan. Yet the specific mechanisms through which this occurs remain elusive. More specifically still: if populists are all about anti-elite rhetoric, they will by definition have to cease being populists once they have acquired power and themselves become the political elite. The rise of populism has become a top political and economic issue in the US and Europe. And the role of what is often patronizingly referred to as “ordinary citizens”? Whatever you say or do about immigration as a supposed “mainstream politician,” you are unlikely to satisfy, for instance, the Danish People’s Party or the “Alternative for Germany.” But here as well, the problem is not just on the strategic or, if you prefer, instrumental level; there are also normative issues: after all, copying populists can be based on the mistaken view of democratic representation discussed above. Many populist victors continue to behave like victims; majorities act like mistreated minorities. 2016 was a particularly marketable year for populism. Expert Answer . Public safety, health and the economy are at risk. Hence it is a profound illusion to think that populists can improve our democracies. Article from the book The Age of Perplexity: Rethinking the World We Knew, The Age of Perplexity: Rethinking the World We Knew. Populists will thereby keep invoking an amorphous “real people” who would have made a different political choice. Its upswing became apparent with the global economic crisis. The fact remains: to this day, no right-wing populist has come to power in Western Europe or North American without the collaboration of established conservative elites. I. So, just as the in the UK, it took an established expert to devalue expertise. The odds are that the world will see a new wave of civil wars and separatist movements facilitated, at least to a degree, by identity populism. In the Netherlands, Wilders, who really is a populist, did less well than expected — but his officially “mainstream” competitor, the right-liberal prime minister Mark Rutte, adopted very Wilders-like rhetoric – telling immigrants that they should leave the country if they do not want to behave “normally.”. In the last decade, however, populist-fueled authoritarianization has been on the rise, accounting for 40 percent of all democratic failures between 2000 and 2010 and matching coups in frequency. 4 Larry Bartels, “The Wave of Right-Wing Populist Sentiment is a Myth”, Washington Post, 21 June 2017, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/06/21/the-wave-of-right-wing-populist-sentiment-is-a-myth/ [last accessed 24 September 2017]. Trump, Brexit, and the rise of Populism 7/31/16 1:50 PM 2 Populist leaders such as Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Norbert Hoffer, Nigel Farage, and Geert Wilders are prominent today in many countries, altering established patterns of party competition in contemporary Western societies. The notion of an unstoppable wave took it for granted that both Brexit and the election of Donald Trump were triumphs for populism. Trump, Brexit, and the rise of Populism 7/31/16 1:50 PM 2 Populist leaders such as Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Norbert Hoffer, Nigel Farage, and Geert Wilders are prominent today in many countries, altering established patterns of party competition in contemporary Western societies. Populists deny the legitimacy of all other contenders for power and also suggest that citizens who do not support them can have their status as properly belonging to the people put in doubt. Understanding the Global Rise of Populism. 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