Article from the book The Age of Perplexity: Rethinking the World We Knew, The Age of Perplexity: Rethinking the World We Knew. Thus the rise of populism is understandable. 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? 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. The failure of mainstream political-party competition fueled the rise of populism in Europe. One side-effect of the summer 2016 military putsch has been to reinforce this self-presentation as struggling with the people against the visible and invisible forces of evil – the military and the shadowy Gülen network — as opposed to the face of a sultan-in-the-making, holed up in his pompous presidential palace, which Erdoğan had been showing in the past few years. The spiral of silence can lead to unwanted effects, in this case — populism: Group A is opposed to populism and against allowing populists participate in democratic contexts (extreme position). A decade on, and the banking bailouts still fuel the rise of global populism . LONDON. . The conventional wisdom also has weak conceptual foundations. This book ultimately shows that the rise of populism across the globe over the past two decades is not a fluke, nor just a reaction to structural economic and political factors such as a prolonged global downturn and rising unemployment, along with disenchantment … Yet the specific mechanisms through which this occurs remain elusive. turn to populism, the rise of the Five Star Movement in Italy , the outsize importance of the 2019 European Parliament elections and the Philippines’ populist leader . 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. 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. Dani Rodrik. For all we know, they might have taken their countries in an authoritarian direction no matter what. 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). So how should one think about the causes of populism in a more complex way? But, crucially, they also claim that they and they alone represent what populists often call “the real people” or “the silent majority.” As a consequence, they denounce all other contenders for power as fundamentally illegitimate. It seems that there has been an error in the communication. 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. Yet, strangely, politicians and journalists often switch from one extreme perspective on populists – namely assuming that they are all demagogues whose utterances can automatically be discounted – to another, which is to say: they all of a sudden concede that populists ultimately articulate people’s “real concerns.” Giving the populists a monopoly on telling us what really worries citizens betrays a deep misunderstanding of how democratic representation works. 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. 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. In fact, it would be wrong to suggest that talk of “peoplehood” is always automatically pernicious and likely to strengthen populists; on the contrary, having to offer a vision of who “we the people” want to become – or, put differently: the direction in which the country as a whole should move – is virtually part of the “job description” of a professional politician. 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]. At stake is never just a disagreement about policy or even values, for that matter — which is of course completely normal (and, ideally, productive) in a democracy; rather, populists immediately personalize and moralize political conflict: the others, they insist, are simply “corrupt” and “crooked.” They allegedly do not work for “the people,” but only for themselves (i.e. Following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union as well What happened on November 8th 2016 was not a free-standing triumph for populism, but a confirmation of how partisan US politics has become: 90 per cent of self-identified Republicans voted for Trump; they clearly could not fathom voting for a Democrat, even if many Republicans in surveys registered deep doubts about candidate Trump. Data on authoritarian regimes show that until recently, coups have been the primary threats to democracy. 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. Early on, many analysts believed that the rise of populism reflected mainly the economic distress created by the protracted Great Recession. Again, this does not guarantee that there will be armed violence, but it certainly increases the chances, particularly when a populist leader’s grasp on power weakens. After all, any civics textbook would instruct us to be vigilant with the powerful; keeping a close eye on elites can in fact plausibly be seen as a sign of good democratic engagement by citizens. 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. Of course economics matters, but there is no automatic relationship between economic changes and political outcomes. The populist surge is partly a rational response to the apparent political failures of the established parties. The reasons for the emergence of a Haider are not the same as those for the success of a Le Pen, which in turn are not the same as the reasons for Trump’s completely unexpected triumph. Its upswing became apparent with the global economic crisis. How the 'Places That Don't Matter' Fueled Populism. Whoever opposes such policies reveals themselves to be irrational. Populism is sexy. To fight them, one needs to understand, and undermine, that core claim. In a sense, populists try to make the unified people in whose name they had been speaking all along a reality on the ground: by silencing or discrediting those who refuse Putin and Orbán’s representative claim (and, sometimes, by giving them every incentive to exit the country and thereby to separate themselves from the pure people: 500 000 Hungarians have left in recent years). Populism is dangerous and has shown overtime an irresistible propensity for war. In Populocracy: The Tyranny of Authenticity and the Rise of Populism, Catherine Fieschi examines the rise of populist politics, arguing that a desire for authenticity has been integral to its success today, focusing on the cases of France, the Netherlands, Italy and the UK. 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). 1 This chapter draws on the paperback edition of my book What is Populism? About the Author. Populist sentiment has been on the rise in Europe and the West for several years. The rise of populism in the European Union’s member countries is important for many reasons. This field cannot be empty, Please enter your comment. Popular anxieties about immigration, economics, or cultural change are not sufficient to explain the surge in populist support. A powerful wave of populism is sweeping the world, enveloping not only places like Latin America, where it has long held sway, but also Europe, North America and parts of Asia. Immigration is certainly not the only explanation for this, but for many today’s populists, immigration is one of the top issues on their policy agenda and they frequently refer to … The most obvious examples of our time are Chávez and Maduro. economic insecurity alone has fueled the rise of populism is inconclusive. It accepts that populists really are the authentic representatives of “the people.” But in fact figures like Farage or the Dutch far-right populist Geert Wilders are not even close to being successful among a quarter of the electorate. Rather, what matters is populists’ anti-pluralism. But talking with populists is not the same as talking like populists. Kate Connolly in Berlin. Perhaps they will conclude that they do indeed share some of the policy positions of the populist party – but still rather not be in the same boat with conspiracy theorists. 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. 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. To be sure, both Farage and Trump are populists, though not because, as the clichéd phrase goes, they “criticize elites.” Not everyone who criticizes elites is automatically a populist. Understanding the Global Rise of Populism. In this respect, Donald Trump’s rhetoric during the 2015-2016 presidential campaign was an extreme case – but he was not really an exception. The chapter also analyzes the behavior of populists in power – arguing that we can see the emergence of a distinctive pattern of authoritarian governance where populists have large enough majorities and countervailing forces are too weak. Twitter LinkedIn Email. The 10 years since the financial crisis have shown that the system of economic governance which has … After the Dutch and the French elections, many observers were quick to declare a “post-populist moment;” what had become the supposed “new normal” of one populist triumph after another was already declared passé. Again, this might be a pious hope on the part of democratic theorists; much social science research claims that the “contact hypothesis” is too good to be true, i.e. Immigration is certainly not the only explanation for this, but for many today’s populists, immigration is one of the top issues on their policy agenda and they frequently refer to … Abstract: There is compelling evidence that globalization shocks, often working through culture and identity, have played an important role in driving up support for populist movements, … This does not mean that they are right, but this is an issue where they can say something. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Southern Illinois Airport, Oct. 27, 2018, Murphysboro, Illinois (AP photo by Jeff Roberson). Contrary to what liberals like to believe sometimes, not everything populists say is necessarily demagogic or mendacious – but, ultimately, their self-presentations is based on one big lie: that there is a singular people of which they are the only representatives. making political offers of representation and citizens responding. Populism is intentionally disruptive, even revolutionary, as it challenges the status quo and undercuts the existing distribution of power and wealth. Of course, not all populism is bad: Inclusive populism has historically led to more just societies from the United States to South Africa. They promise instead to give voice to those who feel that they have been neglected, if not held in contempt, by increasingly distant elites. 5 While this cleavage has been much discussed recently, it is important to distinguish different forms of “openness”: clearly, being in favor of free trade is not the same as being in favor of open border, which in turn is not the same as open-mindedness vis-à-vis minorities at home and abroad. All populists in one way or another engage in the kind of talk we heard from Trump about Hillary Clinton. While seeing the world as divided in this way does not guarantee conflict, it does increase the chances of violence. But if historical patterns hold, this kind of populism, fueled by strident nationalism, may increase the chances of armed conflict both within and between nations. One does not have to adopt their descriptions of political, economic, or social challenges in order to be credible in a debate with them. Steven Metz is the author of “Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy.” His weekly WPR column appears every Friday. The conventional wisdom also has weak conceptual foundations. Fourthly, there is the dynamic of what, for shorthand, one might call liberal technocracy strengthening populism. Finally, the chapter suggests a number of strategies of how populism can be countered. The EU is a historically unprecedented supra-national unification project (Spolaore 2013). Expert Answer . The educated oligarchic elite rule fueled populist movements, which demanded “real” democracy and “draining the swamp.” Fourth, the growth of the state had probably reached its economic and politically expedient limit within the context of a mixed economy. Receive the OpenMind newsletter with all the latest contents published on our website, Tokyo University of Science, Tokio, Japan. Only with what they think is a clear moral justification and, perhaps, even a clean conscience. here is a tragic irony in all this: populists in power often end up committing the very sins of which they had been accusing “the elites” when the populists had been in opposition: excluding citizens and usurping the state. Citizens, and parliaments, can only really consent to such solutions; there is simply no room for reasonable debate. Its modern incarnation emerged in 19th-century America, and it has ebbed and flowed since then, especially across Latin America, where today economic populism, on top of an increasingly authoritarian government, has embroiled Venezuela in crisis. Public safety, health and the economy are at risk. According to the text, the most recent populist movements have been fueled by Multiple Choice globalization. This explains why Putin, Orbán and PiS in Poland have gone out of their way to try to discredit NGO’s as being controlled by outside powers (and also legally declare them to be “foreign agents” – or tweet about them as “paid-up activists”, as Trump did when millions came out against his proposed “Muslim travel ban”). There is compelling evidence that globalization shocks, often working through culture and identity, have played an important role in driving up support for populist movements, particularly of … —Knight (1998, 223) We are seemingly living in populist times. The chapter [1] argues that populism should not be understood as primarily a form of anti-elitism. What the establishment supposedly has always done, populists will also end up doing. Populism returns . Why The Rise Of Leftism Populism Spells Danger In 2020 01/08/2017 06:39 pm ET Updated Jan 11, 2017 iadnews.in Populist movements gain support when people feel the current political norms backed by the establishment are at odds with their hopes, fears, and concerns. 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. 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. And that is easier in some contexts than others (for instance, it is prima facie easier in France than in Germany, which is not to say that the latter is somehow more egalitarian). The spiral of silence can lead to unwanted effects, in this case — populism: Group A is opposed to populism and against allowing populists participate in democratic contexts (extreme position). Another variant of populism is based on inclusivity, seeking to bring politically marginalized groups more into the mainstream, as seen in the civil rights movement in America in the 1960s and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa in the 1980s. 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“. For instance, the losing candidate in the 2016 presidential elections in Austria, far-right populist Norbert Hofer, claimed about the winner, the Green politician Alexander Van der Bellen that the latter had been “counted correctly, but not elected” (gezählt, aber nicht gewählt); in other words, he insinuated that is opponent had indeed received more votes – but that nevertheless he had not really been chosen (as if a real choice could somehow happen by acclamation or some other process not involving the secret ballot). What are your thoughts on identity populism? growing inequality. The result could be conflicts between countries or even within borders. Ans. Thus, a PiS government or Fidesz government will not only create a PiS state or a Fidesz state – it will also seek to bring into existence a PiS people and a Fidesz people. Think about how some socialists and Social Democrats in Europe these days seem essentially to be saying to themselves: “The working class simply doesn’t like foreigners, as the success of right-wing populists demonstrates. What is not compatible with democracy is the populists’ claim which comes down to saying: “Because we did not win, our system must be bad and corrupted.” In this manner, populists systematically undermine the trust of citizens in their institutions – and thereby damage a given political culture, even if they never get anywhere close to the actual levers of power. Share. The result is both faux populism and faux democracy. Contrary to an emerging conventional wisdom, a complete split between the countryside going populist and cities committing to cosmopolitan liberalism is by no means inevitable. Of course, wh… But it is also dangerous, often even for its supporters. Hence it becomes crucial to argue (and supposedly “prove”) that civil society is not civil society at all, and that what can seem like popular opposition on the streets has nothing to do with the real people. Turkish president Erdoğan would present himself as a plucky underdog; he’d forever be the street fighter from Istanbul’s tough neighborhood Kasımpaşa, bravely confronting the old, Kemalist establishment of the Turkish republic – long after he had begun to concentrate all political, economic, and, not least, cultural power in his own hands. Many conservative politicians explicitly came out against Hofer; this was especially true for local mayors and other provincial heavyweights who had credibility with rural Austrians in ways Green bobo leaders dropping in from Vienna clearly could not have mustered. 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. The deep causes of populism are economic and structural, generally speaking. But anything that can pierce the populist fantasy of a fully united, homogeneous people might be of help. But citizens’ self-perceptions can also change again. Why Does Globalization Fuel Populism?… Why Does Globalization Fuel Populism? A vicious circle ensues. As the political scientist Daniel Ziblatt has argued, the consolidation of democracies in Europe depended crucially on the behavior of conservative elites. Phrasing like this, which filled Nazi and fascist rhetoric in the 20th century, is all too common today among populist leaders in Europe. This understanding of populism as a particular form of anti-pluralism should help to avoid lazily repeating the image according to which supposedly everywhere “the people” are rising up against “the establishment.” This is not an innocent, let alone neutral, description of political developments; it is actually populist language. 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. Download your FREE copy of The Global Rise of Populism today. 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.”. Thirdly, and at the risk of stating the obvious: there need to be grievances. Some populists have been lucky to have the resources to build up entire classes to support their regimes. Populists also engage in the exchange of material and immaterial favors for mass support – what political scientists often call “mass clientelism.” Again, such conduct is not exclusive to populists: many parties reward their clientele for turning up at the voting booths, though few would go so far as Austrian archpopulist Jörg Haider, who literally handed out hundred-euro bills to “his people” on the streets in his Austrian state of Carinthia. We do not live in anything comparable to the interwar period and today’s populists are not fascists – but the lesson still holds that the destiny of democracy is as much a matter of the choices of established elites as insurgent outsiders. Left-wing populists also claim a moral monopoly of representing the people; however, the content with which they try to substantiate this claim is drawn for leftist sources. It is simply assumed that the populists have at last revealed many citizens’ true political preferences, instead of realizing that representation is a dynamic process. All of these choices are correct. Populists will thereby keep invoking an amorphous “real people” who would have made a different political choice. Thank you for collaborating with the OpenMind community! Or think of Trump announcing at a campaign rally last year: “The most important thing is the unification of the people – because the other people don’t mean anything.” In other words, the populist decides who the real people are; and whoever does not want to be unified on the populist’s terms is completely and utterly excluded — even if they happen to have a British or an American passport. For both sides, there is no point in exchanging arguments, no space for debate, and, in the end, no real need for an institution like parliament. But it is also dangerous, often even for its supporters. But for them opposition from within civil society creates a particular symbolic challenge: it potentially undermines their claim to exclusive moral representation. 2016 was a particularly marketable year for populism. At the same time, it is important to recognize that a whole range of policy positions that liberals find highly problematic are nevertheless permissible in a democracy – and that one has to argue against them with the best arguments and evidence available, not with the polemical charge of “populism.” However, when populists reveal themselves as specifically populist – which is to say: when they try to deny the legitimacy of their opponents or the membership of certain citizens, or when they fundamentally question the rules of the democratic game – it is crucial that other politicians draw the line. 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. *Your comment will be reviewed before being published, Five Reasons for Understanding why Sustainability is Here to Stay, Chronicle of the Day of the Apocalypse: This is How the Dinosaurs Died, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/06/21/the-wave-of-right-wing-populist-sentiment-is-a-myth/, Neoliberalism and Antiestablishment Movements. Such visions should be treated as calls to follow a “vision,” or, if you prefer, as fallible hypotheses; the populist, by contrast, will assume that he and only he knows the true voice of the people and that there is only one direction in which to go. The direct effect of the rise of populism is therefore quite limited, but the indirect effect is significant. It would be foolish to argue that, let’s say, Turkey had been a perfectly pluralist democracy and society until Erdoğan came along and wrecked it; it would be ridiculous to argue that Venezuela had been a wonderfully egalitarian democracy until Chávez and Maduro messed it all up. The irony was that Gove himself had long been seen as a kind of intellectual among Tories. In other words, he did the trick Gove had performed in the UK: whatever else one thinks about Gingrich, he is considered a sort of intellectual among American conservatives. Populism is the result of economic failure. It would be a mistake, then, to think that populists reveal to us the ultimate objective truth about society. Your comment will be published after validation. Nothing we can do about it.”. In addition, the government had literally spent millions of Euros on billboards and glossy brochures sent to each household to warn Hungarians of the dangers of an influx of uslim terrorists posing as refugees, all in order to generate the one morally correct referendum result. Granted, a bit a stretch – but the point remains that we cannot simply take it for granted that those who cast a ballot for a populist politician or party are necessarily on board with an anti-pluralist program. What might be less obvious is that technocracy and populism seem like two extremes opposed to each other – and yet they share an important characteristic: they are both forms of anti-pluralism. the rise of social media. . 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. Without this thought it’s hard to understand how Erdoğan could have politically survived all the revelations about his regime’s corruption, which had started to come out in 2013. 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. The lesson here is of course not that citizens should refrain from going out on the streets to protest; it is only that one has to be aware of how swift and sophisticated populists are when it comes to incorporating protest into their own narratives to justify their exclusionary identity politics. Plenty of supporters understood well enough what he really meant: according to one survey, 70 per cent of his followers thought that if Clinton became president, the outcome must have been “rigged.”. 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