Trump has been called a “populist.” The Brexit movement has been called “populist.” Marie LePen, who ran for president of France on an anti-immigration platform, was called a “populist.” Bannon and his anti-Establishment movement funded by the billionaire Mercers are called “populists.” No doubt, someone thinks the Koch brothers are “populists.”
None of these people are populists, not in the literal sense of representing ordinary folk, nor in the historical sense of connecting to a movement that surfaced in the late 1890s.
Populism as a movement means “for the people,” for the ordinary people, for working people. It should not be confused with appeals to nationalism, racism, and chauvinism. Demagogues appeal to base instincts, but they are not populists by doing so.
If you support a plan to take away health insurance from millions of people, you are not a populist. If you support tax reform that cuts…
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