Generation Brexit

Populism is Democracy For Those Who Think Governments Failed

Populism has been surging since 2016, with events like the French Elections, the Brexit vote, and the election of Donald Trump. According to an article in the Guardian, populist parties' votes have also tripled in Europe over the last 20 years. But is this a sign that democracy is failing, or is a sign that prolonged economic hardship has driven people towards more radical ideologies?

According to the article referenced below, when people feel disenfranchised from the more traditional parties, their votes will surely reflect that. And voting is a fundamental right under democracy. The article also cites dangerous rhetoric as having shifted people's perspectives, such as claims blaming the financial crisis on the "corrupt elite," and immigrants "stealing jobs." Whether or not those claims are accurate, people still believed them, and voted to reflect these new ideas. Governments who failed to deal with these crises appropriately, suffered under enormous political pressure. This could suggest that populism isn't the threat--it's politicians, both traditional and radical, that failed in times of distress, and can't deliver on promises.

Jackie Yang 7 months ago

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Whitney Dankworth 7 months ago

A major problem in the current wave of populism sweeping across the West is misinformation and the instrumentalization of anger as a political device. Populist candidates and leaders are using wage stagnation and anti-migration sentiment as hot-button issues to attract voters to the polls (often using misinformation to build unrest), but then damaging the democracies and societies that elected them while failing to act on many of their campaign promises. Essentially, for many, populism and its messages have been one-way tickets to power.

With that in mind, in your opinion, is the threat the politicians and institutions who failed, voters themselves, or the politicians who turn anger into votes?

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