One would be hard-pressed to find a region of the world that populism didn’t touch in the 2010s. This isn’t an accident. Though this populist phenomenon rose to international consciousness in the past decade, its roots in fact stretch back further. And he has used it to advocate for policies—like his massive tax cut—that do little to benefit the “forgotten” Americans he claims to represent. 224 pages | 6 x 9 | 1 table Cloth Nov 2020 | ISBN 9780812252767 | $29.95a | Outside the Americas £23.99 Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors View table of contents and excerpt "Populism has become a dirty word—the dirty word—in politics, in America and around the world. A pro-Brexit protester, wearing a yellow vest and a mask depicting President Donald Trump, demonstrates in London. His rhetoric shares the same passion, outrage and sense of grievance that animated the original populists. Reagan meeting some of his supporters while campaigning for president, 1964. Stratfor Contributor. Enthusiastic crowds shouted, “Give ’em hell, Harry!” Truman responded, “I don’t give ’em hell. To continue, please click the box below to let us know you're not a robot. Roosevelt and Truman used populism to expand government power, but in the 1980s Republican President Ronald Reagan employed the same approach to dismantle regulations and limit federal power. The Situation. “We need populism today more than ever. Reserved. Populism, political program or movement that champions, or claims to champion, the common person, by contrast with a real or perceived elite. As populist parties gain a stronger foothold, the 2020s could see more of the same. Populism divides the world into an “us vs. them” dichotomy and uses this divide to create an incredibly loyal political base. Trump’s surprising victory resulted from the pent-up anger of a white working class that believed the traditional parties had failed to respond to their legitimate economic grievances. But it’s a shining example of the constant force of populism in American politics. ... Too many accounts of populism today portray Donald Trump and his one-time svengali Steve Bannon as an unprecedented force in American politics. Contact us We've detected unusual activity from your computer network. One survey showed that more than half the nation shared Wallace’s view that “liberals, intellectuals and long-hairs have run the country for too long.”. Goldwater was the Republican nominee for the 1964 election, running against incumbent Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson. “Climate policy and the Green New Deal ... is being depicted as the next way for the elite to screw over ordinary people.”. A Populism Deferred. To explain how a small group could attain so much power, populists often turned to conspiracy theories. In Spain, there is the Podemos party, and in … Separate and Unequal: The Kerner Commission and the Unraveling of American Liberalism. As the historian Richard Hofstadter has noted, the agrarian uprising also exposed a dark side to populism: a penchant for oversimplifying problems and scapegoating “elites,” which in this case included Jewish bankers and legitimate businessmen. In Austria, the right-wing Freedom Party served in a governing coalition from 2000 to 2005. All Rights Elsewhere, populist parties have already made their impact—if not through passing legislation at the head of government, then by applying pressure in opposition. Populism has remained a significant force in Latin America. 30 Jul, 2020. By 1950, McCarthy dominated headlines and was the most feared man in America. In some ways, they already have. This economy does not work for working people. ... growing wealth disparities and … He especially denounced the ‘egg-sucking phony liberals’ who defended ‘communists and queers.’ (Credit: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images), George Wallace, the pugnacious Alabama governor who once stood in the schoolhouse door to prevent integration of his state’s flagship university, adopted most of McCarthy’s language and tactics when he ran for president on a third-party ticket in 1968. Eatwell noted that although the actual term populism parallels that of the Populares who were active in the Roman Republic, these and other pre-modern groups "did not develop a truly populist ideology." They lashed out at those groups—bankers, Jews, communists and Washington bureaucrats—who they blamed for the Depression. But it, too, could have an upside. The populist argument was that “you have a liberal elite that has everything to gain from letting in lots of immigrants,” Fieschi said. For example, Trump won by a 2-1 margin those voters who claimed that immigration was the most important problem facing the nation. Despite their differences, each of these leaders—FDR, Truman and Reagan—used populist appeals to build coalitions and to achieve meaningful reform. Latin America’s long experience with populism offers some bracing warnings to other countries currently flirting with such politics. The populist tradition is nearly as old as the republic itself, but it was a farmers’ revolt in the late 19th century that broadened its appeal and codified a language and style of politics that would endure long after the formal movement ended. Populism took many (often overlapping) forms in the 2010s. Clinton won by 11 points among voters who ranked the economy as the top issue. In France, the National Rally, still buoyant after its European Parliament victory last spring, is setting its sights on consolidating local support through the country’s upcoming municipal elections. Trump’s populism, which included a strange alchemy of narcissism and megalomania, shocked the political establishment. “I have here in my hand,” he blustered, “a list of names that were known to the secretary of state and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.” McCarthy called Dean Acheson, Truman’s secretary of state who promoted the formation of NATO, a “pompous diplomat in striped pants, with a phony British accent.” He denounced the “egg-sucking phony liberals” who defended “communists and queers.” In focusing on liberal thinkers, homosexuals and others who did not fit with Americans’ traditional view of themselves, McCarthy exploited the nation’s unease with its new global stature and its discomfort with alien ideas and lifestyles. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has signaled that he will press forward with his quest to further his Hindu-nationalist agenda—including defending his contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, which has spurred weeks of protests. A combination of forces had conspired against farmers: declining prices for their crops, rising debt and a railroad monopoly that controlled the cost of shipping to the growing cities on the East Coast. And even if voters do become dissatisfied with populist parties, Fieschi said, it doesn’t mean a return to the politics of the early 2000s. Wallace rose in the polls by catering to the resentments of his followers: “If a demonstrator ever lays down in front of my car,” Wallace told large and enthusiastic crowds, “it’ll be the last car he’ll ever lay down in front of.” Wallace’s appeal was blatantly racist and anti-intellectual. In response, farmers banded together, organized their own political party and advocated for federal intervention to regulate the railroads and inflate the money supply. He has authored numerous books on American history, including the recent Separate and Unequal: The Kerner Commission and the Unraveling of American Liberalism, (Basic, 2018). Populist parties can be anywhere on the political spectrum. Italy’s Matteo Salvini, the leader of the far-right and nativist League party, has pledged to return to government as prime minister—and, if successful, to forge alliances with like-minded leaders, including Johnson and Trump. Read: The “identitarians” are the successors to Europe’s far right, Whereas much of the past decade revolved around arguments over issues of immigration and sovereignty, the 2020s could be dominated by a new, more pressing narrative: climate change. Why Populism in America is a Double-Edged Sword. Before his These forms are likely to continue into the new decade, though the main issue at play will probably shift from immigration to climate change, populist promises will become policy, and democratic institutions will be put even further to the test. Two years after Trump took office, populism has reached more countries. During the Red Scare following World War II, McCarthy boasted he had proof that communist spies had infiltrated the federal government. It witnessed the rise of the Alternative for Germany—the first far-right party to enter the country’s national parliament in decades—as well as the ascent of populist parties in countries such as Austria, Brazil, Italy, India, Indonesia, and Poland. Look at what the populists in the 1890s complained about — the concentration of wealth, degradation of working people, monopolies everywhere you looked, and political corruption that went hand in hand with the concentration of wealth. The New Populism arises from the stark truth about today’s America: Too few people control too much money and power, and they’re using that control to rig the rules to protect and extend their privileges. In Latin America, Populism Is Alive and Well. Some countries experienced a socioeconomic version, pitting the working class against Big Business and cosmopolitan elites regarded as benefiting from the international capitalist system (as seen in places such as France and the United States). History of Populism . Long planned to challenge FDR for the presidency in 1936, but an assassin ended those dreams, and his movement died with him. The decade brought us the election of Donald Trump in the United States and the Brexit vote in Britain. The Populist party platform of 1892 stated bluntly that “a vast conspiracy against mankind has been organized on two continents,” which, if “not met and overthrown at once,” would lead “to the destruction of civilization, or the establishment of an absolute despotism.” In the populist mind, there were two groups: the people and the special interests. During the 1930s, Huey Long, a charismatic, ambitious and shrewd politician who had won election to the Senate in 1932, fashioned himself as a modern-day Robin Hood. If the 2010s were the years in which predominantly far-right, populist parties permeated the political mainstream, then the 2020s will be when voters “are going to see the consequences of that,” Daphne Halikiopoulou, an associate professor of comparative politics at the University of Reading, in England, told me. Foto: Pexels. Countless other populist leaders already held power in countries such as Bolivia, Israel, and Hungary. They’re all over Europe. Others saw a cultural form thrive, focusing on issues of national identity, immigration, and race (as was the case in Germany and India). They romanticized “the people,” convinced that all Americans embraced the same agenda and spoke with one voice. TheAtlantic.com Copyright (c) 2020 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. Perhaps the most common was anti-establishment populism, which pits “the people” against the political elites and the mainstream parties they represent. “We’ve become much more impatient; we don’t understand why things aren’t always just a click away. Populism has its roots in the grassroots formation of the People's and Populist parties in the late 1800s. And, like them, his version oversimplifies problems and demonizes opponents. History Reads features the work of prominent authors and historians. We want to hear what you think about this article. Populism Today. In Britain, the 2016 vote to leave the European Union—and the political fallout it caused—is likely to be fulfilled at the end of January, following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resounding victory in last month’s general election. In the closing days of 2017, President Donald Trump scored his sole major legislative victory by pushing through Congress a sweeping tax cut. Independence Party was on the ascent. Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy proved the most dangerous populist demagogue of the 20th century. FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. It combines elements of the left and the right, opposing large business and financial interests but also frequently being … Populist leaders have been present in Latin America’s political landscapes, and will continued to be a staple of the political system until something changes. Who defined the previous decade remain at the fore late President Chávez populist demagogue of the same reached countries. 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