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Populism is a political doctrine that proposes that the common people are exploited by a privileged elite, and which seeks to resolve this. The underlying ideology of populists can be left, right, or center. Its goal is uniting the uncorrupt and the unsophisticated "little man" against the corrupt dominant elites (usually the orthodox politicians) and their camp of followers (usually the rich and the intellectuals). It is guided by the belief that political and social goals are best achieved by the direct actions of the masses. Although it comes into being where mainstream political institutions fail to deliver, there is no identifiable economic or social set of conditions that give rise to it, and it is not confined to any particular social class.

Political parties and politicians often use the terms populist and populism as pejoratives against their opponents. Such a view sees populism as demagogy, merely appearing to empathize with the public through rhetoric or unrealistic proposals in order to increase appeal across the political spectrum.

Populism is most common in democratic nations. Political scientist Cas Mudde wrote that, "Many observers have noted that populism is inherent to representative democracy; after all, do populists not juxtapose 'the pure people' against 'the corrupt elite'?"

Academic definitions[]

Historically, academic definitions of populism vary, and people have often used the term in loose and inconsistent ways to reference appeals to "the people," demagogy, and "catch-all" politics. The term has also been used as a label for new parties whose classifications are unclear. A factor traditionally held to diminish the value of "populism" as a category has been that, as Margaret Canovan notes in her 1981 study Populism, populists rarely call themselves "populists" and usually reject the term when it is applied to them, differing in that regard from those who are identified as conservatives or socialists.

In recent years, academic scholars have produced definitions that facilitate populist identification and comparison. Daniele Albertazzi and Duncan McDonnell define populism as an ideology that "pits a virtuous and homogeneous people against a set of elites and dangerous ‘others’ who are together depicted as depriving (or attempting to deprive) the sovereign people of their rights, values, prosperity, identity, and voice". Rather than viewing populism in terms of specific social bases, economic programs, issues, or electorates as discussions of right-wing populism have tended to do, this type of definition is in line with the approaches of scholars such as Ernesto Laclau, Pierre-Andre Taguieff, Yves Meny and Yves Surel, who have all sought to focus on populism per se, rather than treating it simply as an appendage of other ideologies.

In the United States and Latin America, populism has generally been associated with the left, whereas in European countries, populism is more associated with the right. In both, the central tenet of populism—that democracy should reflect the pure and undiluted will of the people—means it can sit easily with ideologies of both right and left. However, while leaders of populist movements in recent decades have claimed to be on either the left or the right of the political spectrum, there are also many populists who reject such classifications and claim not to be "left wing," "centrist" or "right wing."

Cas Mudde says, "Many observers have noted that populism is inherent to representative democracy; after all, do populists not juxtapose 'the pure people' against 'the corrupt elite'?" In the United States populist movements have high prestige in the history books, for example, farmers' movements, New Deal reform movements, and the civil rights movement that were often called populist, by supporters and outsiders alike. Most recently, many observers have categorized the rise of Donald Trump in the U.S. and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines as populist in nature.

Some scholars argue that populist organizing for empowerment represents the return of older "Aristotelian" politics of horizontal interactions among equals who are different, for the sake of public problem solving. Populism has taken left-wing, right-wing, and even centrist[16] forms, as well as forms of politics that bring together groups and individuals of diverse partisan views. The use of populist rhetoric in the United States has recently included references such as "the powerful trial lawyer lobby", "the liberal elite", or "the Hollywood elite". Examples of populist rhetoric on the other side of the political spectrum include the anti-corporate-greed views of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the theme of "Two Americas" in the 2004 Presidential Democratic Party campaign of John Edwards.

Populists are seen by some politicians as a largely democratic and positive force in society, while a wing of scholarship in political science contends that populist mass movements are irrational and introduce instability into the political process. Margaret Canovan argues that both these polar views are faulty, and has defined two main branches of modern populism worldwide — agrarian and political — and mapped out seven disparate sub-categories:


  1. Commodity farmer movements with radical economic agendas such as the US People's Party of the late 19th century.
  2. Subsistence peasant movements, such as the Eastern European Green Rising militias, which followed World War I.
  3. Intellectuals who romanticize hard-working farmers and peasants and build radical agrarian movements like the Russian narodniki.


  1. Populist democracy, including calls for more political participation through reforms such as the use of popular (an often corrupted) referenda.
  2. Politicians' populism marked by non-ideological appeals for "the people" to build a unified coalition.
  3. Reactionary populism, such as the white backlash harvested by George Wallace.
  4. Populist dictatorship, such as that established by Getúlio Vargas in Brazil.

Fascism and populism[]

Scholars have argued that populist elements have sometimes appeared in authoritarian or fascist movements. Conspiracist scapegoating employed by various populist movements can create "a seedbed for fascism." National Socialist populism interacted with and facilitated fascism in interwar Germany. In this case, distressed middle–class populists mobilized their anger against the government and big business during the pre-Nazi Weimar period. The Nazis "parasitized the forms and themes of the populists and moved their constituencies far to the right through ideological appeals involving demagoguery, scapegoating, and conspiracism." According to Fritzsche:

"The Nazis expressed the populist yearnings of middle–class constituents and at the same time advocated a strong and resolutely anti-Marxist mobilization....Against "unnaturally" divisive parties and querulous organized interest groups, National Socialists cast themselves as representatives of the commonwealth, of an allegedly betrayed and neglected German public....Breaking social barriers of status and caste, and celebrating at least rhetorically the populist ideal of the people's community..."

Argentinian Peronism[]

In Argentina in the 1940s, a local brand of populism emerged known as Peronism, after its leader Juan Perón. Juan Domingo Perón came to political prominence during the dictatorship of Edelmiro Farrel, when he was head of the work's secretary and implemented several welfare politics. The military government didn't like the progressive agenda of Perón and tried to jail him, but in October 17, mainly the meat workers from Berisso and Ensenada initiated a pacific revolt which led to the destitution of Farrel and democratic elections. Juan Domingo Perón won by a very large margin, and initiated a six-year presidency. During this period, he initiated several changes on the Argentinian economy and socioeconomical order. He then changed the Constitution and enabled reelection, winning again by a broad margin. Nevertheless, the military, the church and the economic powers of Argentina led a coup d'etat against him in 1955, proscribing his party. Nevertheless, Perón gained a broad legitimacy among the working classes, and a resistance initiated during the following dictatorship-democracy cycles until Peron's return in the 70's.

Peronism is today a leading political force in Argentina, although it has changed to a much more leftist movement.

Millennial fascists[]

They are a type of Nazis or fascists that claim to be Eurosceptics, but are in fact classic Nazis or fascists that use Blairite spin doctoring and False news. They say the cure to crime, unemployment, ecanomic decline and terrorism is to be found in breaking alliances, sycophantic to Vladimir Putin, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, white supremacist, hating poor people, hatred of the EU and\or NAFTA, mob rule, gagging their rivals, politically tampering in the legal process, breaking treaty, leaving organisations, provoking wars with neighboring states, electoral fraud, power at all costs, promoting false news, the scrapping of democracy and the mass ethnic\religious cleansing of any one who is not like them. 



The AfD has made the claim that a return to xenophobia and an updated version Nazism (all be it with out the anti-Jewish and anti-disabled things) will save the nation. Germany has the phenomenon develop since the EU refugee crisis. Attempts to preempt the AfD and other fringe neo-Nazi groups only encouraged it and made them publicly acceptable by 2016.


In the 1950s, Pierre Poujade was the leader of the right-wing populist movement Union de Defense Commercants et Artisans (UDCA). Jean Marie Le Pen (who was UDCA's youngest deputy in the 1950s) can be characterized as right-wing populist or extreme-right populist. The French National Front, currently led by Marine Le Pen, is one of the most successful populist parties in Europe. France has the phenomena develop since the early 2000s against Muslims. Attempts to preempt the FN only encouraged it and made them publicly acceptable by 2015. The FN has made the claim that a return to xenophobia and an updated version Vichy France will save the nation.

Latin America[]

Populism has remained a significant force in Latin America, playing on the promise of a better standard of living and curbing American influence. Throwing money at infrastructure projects and poverty relief is always popular and helpful, but in the long run, but it badly drains government reserves in poor nations. Populism has recently been reappearing on the left with promises of far-reaching socialist changes as seen in Venezuela under Hugo Chávez, and in Bolivia under Evo Morales — a process, however, seen by some as contradictory as it tries to meld the populist traditional celebration of folk wisdom and charismatic leadership with doctrinaire socialism. And, in fact, "socialist" changes in today's Venezuela have mostly included the expenditure of oil revenue to benefit the working poor as a form of social welfare to help enable an eventual (and imprecise) socialist transformation. For some authors, as far as ideology is concerned, Chávez's political blueprint is more of a "throwback" to traditional populist nationalism and redistributanism. The Venezuelan government often spars verbally with the United States and accuses it of attempting to overthrow Chavez after supporting a failed coup against him. Chavez had been one of the most outspoken and blunt critics of US foreign policy. Nevertheless, a large commodity trade continues between Venezuela and the US because of the economic constraints of oil delivery and the proximity of the two countries.

Because populist tradition ascertains the paramountcy of the "people" (instead of class) as a political subject, it suffices to say that, in the 21st century, the large numbers of voters living in extreme poverty in Latin America has remained a bastion of support for new populist candidates. By early 2008 governments with varying forms of populism and with some form of left leaning (albeit vague) social democratic or democratic socialist platform had come to dominate virtually all Latin American nations with the exceptions of Colombia, El Salvador and Mexico. This political shift includes both more developed nations such as Argentina's Front for Victory and Chile's Socialist Party, and smaller income countries like Bolívia with its Movement towards Socialism and Paraguay with the Patriotic Alliance for Change. Even in middle-income Mexico, a populist candidate like López Obrador, albeit defeated, nevertheless appeared as part of a strong neo-populist reaction. Nevertheless, populist candidates have been more successful in poorer Latin American countries such as Bolivia (under Morales), Ecuador (under Rafael Correa) and Nicaragua (under Daniel Ortega). By the use of broad grassroots movements populist groups have managed to gain power from better organized, funded and entrenched groups such as the Bolivian Nationalist Democratic Action and the Paraguayan Colorado Party.

Countries in Latin America with high rates of poverty, whose governments maintain and support unpopular privatizations and more orthodox economic policies that don't deliver general societal gains, are under pressure from populist politicians and movements accusing them of benefiting the upper and upper-middle classes and of being allied to foreign and business interests.


For the populist movement in Canada, see Populism in Canada. Populist political ideology in Canada has been a strong phenomenon in Western Canada and Quebec as promoted by provincial Social Credit parties in the western provinces and Quebec, and in federal politics as promoted by the Social Credit Party of Canada and the Reform Party of Canada.

United States[]

Lynn Frazier, three-term Governor of North Dakota, led the Nonpartisan League in a right-wing populist movement that gained control of North Dakota's lower house and won 79% of the popular vote in North Dakota's gubernatorial election of 1916. Campaigning as Republicans against Democrats who were supported by intellectuals and liberal reformers espousing collectivist and corporate farming, the NPL gained a large share of the rural and agrarian vote. There have also been left-wing leaders of populist movements such as Free Silver advocate William Jennings Bryan and consumer protection advocate Ralph Nader. They campaigned against the power of large corporations such as national banks and auto companies, as presidential candidates for the Democratic Party and Green Party, respectively.

Populism remains a force in modern US politics. The media have identified numerous populist candidates in recent years. The third-party presidential campaigns of billionaire Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996. The 1996, 2000, 2004, and the 2008 presidential campaigns of Ralph Nader had a strong populist cast. The 2004 and 2008 Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has been described by many (and by himself) as a "one economic community, one commonwealth" populist.

From its beginnings in early 2009, the Tea Party movement has used populist rhetoric, particularly in areas and states where Democrats are in power. Boyer et al. states:

"The Tea Party's name, large outdoor rallies, populist rhetoric, and use of patriotic symbols (notably, the 'Don't Tread On Me' Gadsden Flag, which emerged as the movement's standard) tapped into the historical legacy of the Antifederalist movement of the 1780s."

The 2016 presidential election saw a wave of populist sentiment in the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, with both candidates running on anti-establishment platforms in the Democratic and Republican parties. Bernie Sanders's faction of the Democrats had made the claim that crushing corruption and ending corporate abuse of power would save the nation.

The 2016 presidential election saw a wave of populist sentiment in the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, with both candidates running on anti-establishment platforms in the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively. Both campaigns appealed to economic protectionism and have criticized free trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Their movements coincided with a similar trend of populism in Europe. Ultimately, Trump was elected President of the United States. The Republicans had made the claim that a return to xenophobia, isolationism, Islamophobia and Sinophobia will save the nation.


Silvio Berlusconi, leader of Forza Italia and Prime Minister of Italy for almost ten years. When Silvio Berlusconi entered in politics in 1994 with his new party Forza Italia, he created a new kind of populism focused on media control. Berlusconi and his allies won three elections, in 1994, 2001 and, with his new right-wing People of Freedom party, in 2008; he was Prime Minister of Italy for almost ten years. It traded on fawning to the public wims and public works projects, but was rumored to be corrupted.

Another Italian populist party is Lega Nord, founded in 1991 as a federation of several regional parties of northern (and central-northern) Italy, most of which had sprung up and expanded their share of the electorate during the 1980s. Lega Nord was the principal ally of Berlusconi's parties including, most recently, People of Freedom. They say that Italy vassalating to an autonomous and de facto fascist north will cure the region's woes.

In 2009 Beppe Grillo, a former comedian, blogger and activist, founded the Five Star Movement. It advocates direct democracy and free access to the Internet, and condemns corruption. The M5S's programme also contains elements of both left-wing and right-wing populism and American-style libertarianism. They claim tat crushing organised crime, political norms and big business would cure the nation's woe, but was rumored to be corrupted.

United Kingdom[]

After the 2016 UK referendum on membership of the European Union, in which British citizens voted to leave, some have claimed the "Brexit" was an act of populism at work, and is encouraging a flurry of calls for referendums of their own among other EU countries by populist political parties.

The UK has the phenomenon since the economic crash of 2008 against Muslims and the EU. Attempts to preempt the UKIP and fawn to far-right Tories only encouraged it and made them publicly acceptable by 2015.

UKIP has made the claim that a return to xenophobia, isolationism, Islamophobia and an updated version The British Union of Fascists (all be it with out the anti-Jewish things and a with a heavy hatred of white Europeans) will save the nation.

The Netherlands[]

The Netherlands has had one develop since the EU refugee crisis. Attempts to preempt the FP only encouraged it and made them publicly acceptable by 2014.

PF has made the claim that a return to xenophobia, isolationism, Islamophobia and a Dutch version of Apartheid will save the nation.

Common party themes[]

Common party themes.
Name. Founded in (a major political reboot). Kown to regularly use false news/fake statistics. Stance on Europe. Stance on immigration. Stance on UN\NATO\IMF. Stance on Vladimir Putin. Has an unheathy lust for power and\or will likey terminate democacy. Stance on Donald Trump. Use of intimidated or lied to direct democracy and\or E-democray. 
Movimento 5 Stelle 2009 N\A Overtly racist Anti-immigrant N\A Worships him Yes  Worshps him N\A 
Lega Nord 1989 (2012) N\A Overtly racist Overtly racist Overtly racist Woships him Yes  Worships him N\A 
UK Independence Party 1993 (1997) Yes Overtly racist Overtly racist Isolationist Likes him. Yes\no Worships him Yes\no
Front national 1972 (2011) No Overtly racist Overtly racist Overtly racist Worships him Yes\would scrap it as soon as the could. Likes him NA\Yes
Vlaams Belang  1978 (2004) N\A Anti-EU  Anti-immigrant N\A N\A N\A  N\A No 
Sverigedemokraterna 1988 (1995) N\A Anti-EU Anti-immigrant N\A N\A No  N\A No 
Partij voor de Vrijheid 2006 N\A Anti-EU Overtly racist N\A N\A No  Likes him No 
Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs 1956 (2008) No Anti-EU Anti-immigrant Suports them N\A No N\A No
Bündnis Zukunft Österreich 1986 (2009) N\a Anti-Eu Anti-Immigrant N\A N\A No N\A No

Public panic, protests and riots[]

As the pro-Brexit lobby, President Deturte's victory, President Maduro's victory and Trump's victory show, if is used to whip up a crowd of frightened, economically devastated, gullible, prejudiced, desperate, ill educated or paranoid people then a politician can land slide to victory in a sea of public fear; possibly even dictatorship. They then stay in office via a mix of lies, trickaryy, threat construction, intimidation and fear.

Also see[]

  1. A political diorama
  2. The political spectrum
  3. False news sites
  4. Threat construction
  5. How Governments become Authoritarian
  6. How to tell your election was rigged!?
  7. Eurosceptics and "Little Englanders"
  8. Wedge issues and political cleavage
  9. Politically Communist and/or Socialist
  10. Politically Fascist and/or Nazi


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