New Populism (IV)

New Populism (IV)                 

Written by Alfonso Elizondo


At the moment there is an increase in support for parties that appeal to populist discourse, although it is not a new phenomenon, because on several occasions important changes were found in the use of populist discourse by politicians between 1950 and 1990. The interesting thing is that without being something new, today it has greater impact. This is how it was explained by Noam Gidron, a professor in the Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


The study led by Professor Hawkins concludes that the most important increase in the number of populist heads of state occurred in the last five years. The jump was the result of the adoption of populism by many leaders in Europe and other regions of the world.


Kramer says that there is a rise in populism globally. In many countries, large portions of their population seem disenchanted with centrist governments, social democrats or conservative liberals who, according to them, were unable to maintain or achieve the expected stability and prosperity.


Studies show that those who see themselves on the losing side of globalization, cultural changes or economic competition turn to populist politics.


The clearest proof of the change of era is the switch by some the leaders who have been in power the longest. The extreme case is Erdogan who started as prime minister in 2003 and used a “non-populist” rhetoric. But 16 years later, when he took over as “super president,” he moved towards a “populist” discourse.


Another case is that of Orbán, who came to power in 2010 with a moderate rhetoric and is now considered one of the most radical European leaders, bordering on the far right.


The populist style of communication has taken control of politics, replacing the rational language that sought to build consensus and stability in Western democracies. Now there is an informal language that only seeks to humiliate opponents.