What's So Bad About Populism?
It turns dominant majorities against vulnerable minorities
As 2024 revs up, the prospect of populist victories looms in many nations. In Europe, Poland managed to reverse course after almost a decade of liberal democratic backsliding. But France, Austria, the U.K., and more are facing potential far-right takeovers in the coming year.
In India, Narendra Modi and the BJP are poised to secure an easy majority in the general election, giving him the green light for more autocratic and discriminatory policies against the country’s Muslim and other minorities. Tomorrow, El Salvador is poised to reelect Nayib Bukele, who dismissed judges and replaced them with loyalists in order to circumvent the constitutional prohibition on serving consecutive terms. And in the United States, Donald Trump may yet secure a second presidential term, a potentially cataclysmic event that would not only further polarize America but have repercussions far beyond.
But what makes all of these movements populist, exactly? The term has a number of different, overlapping, and sometimes conflicting, definitions. Here at The UnPopulist, we’ve made it our mission to help you understand and resist the populist temptation, and building a robust, clear definition of populism is a crucial part of doing so. My latest video aims to do just that. View it below or on YouTube (and subscribe to our YouTube channel), and after watching, tell us: Who do you consider to be a populist versus just a popular leader, and why?
Our favorite response will get a shoutout in Substack Notes.
© The UnPopulist 2024