About 2 years ago on here we mentioned the worrying rise of the populist right, and have gradually seen evidence of this with it culminating in the Trump election.
So I have been trying to get to grips and doing some reading to try to establish what exactly a populist party looks like and it's fundamental philosophies.
We know of populist party leaders:- Trump, Le Pen, Hoffer, Wilders and Farage amongst others.
Whilst they each represent a slightly different version, I think we can identify 3 main characteristics
Anti establishment because
It is a philosophy that emphasises faith in the wisdom and virtue of ordinary people as opposed to the "corrupt" establishment. There is a deep cynicism and resentment against the existing authorities
So you have
Elites - bad
It's leanings feature the personal power of one leader who is thought to reflect the will of the people
Nationalist/ xenophobic nationalism because
It tends to assume that people are a uniform whole, and favours mono-culturalism over multi-culturalism
Favours national self interest over international cooperation and development aid
Favours closed borders over the free flow of people and ideas, as well as capital, goods and labour
Finally favours Traditionalism over progressive liberal values.
So we have witnessed the rhetoric which seeks to stir up a potent mix of racial resentment, intolerance of multiculturalism, nationalist isolationism, misogyny and sexism. There is strong-man leadership and attack dog politics.
Populism therefore can be described as xenophobic authoritarianism.
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