Populism Triumphs at US Primaries

The U.S. primaries campaign confirms so far that populism is the dominant feature of this pre-election. One (out of three) Democratic candidates, and two and a half (out of 8 remaining) Republican candidates are explicit populists.

The caucus in Iowa demonstrated that out of the Democratic leaning electorate, exactly half support the populist Bernie Sanders. Among the Republicans, 52% supported clear populists (Cruz and Trump), and another 24% a populist impersonator (Rubio). The voices of relative constraint – Bush, Fiorina, Kasich, Christie – selected jointly less than ten percentage points. They were trounced.

It is too early to extrapolate these first results. But, in a few weeks, we may be left with four or five candidates, three (or four) of them being populists, suggesting that gating America against globalization is the proper answer to all urgent problems and uncertainties.

What does this indicate for the future American global position, and politics?

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  1. Robert Legvold 3 days ago

    The question overstates the populist wave in U.S. politics. Trump is clearly exploiting a crude populist–almost nativist–sentiment among a sizable portion of Americans with an unfocused fury, but his star may have crested, and even if he can ride the wave longer, it is more likely to hurt rather than help his chance of reaching the White House. Cruz is not so much a populist, running a populist campaign, as a hard-right outsider attempting to rally hard-right constituencies, again, while a plausible strategy in Republican primaries, not a winning path to the presidency. The real threat on the Republican side is not so-called populist candidates, but Marco Rubio who is a neo-con on foreign policy and very much in the thrall of that camp. Sanders is attempting to mobilize a large and legitimately frustrated part of the U.S. public–particularly lower working class and youth–who feel the system is rigged for the rich leaving them utterly disempowered and ignored. Whether he succeeds to the degree he would need to in order to win the nomination, let alone the election, is deeply in question. But the sentiment is there, and were the political winds in the United States to begin shifting to address it in coming years, it would be good for the country and, frankly, for much of the rest of the world as well.

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  2. Alexei Voskressenski 3 days ago

    Even the US can not afford to have a populist as a president anymore.

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  3. Justas Paleckis 1 day ago

    Yes, populists clearly prevail among the American presidential candidates. D. Trump has a real chance of winning the Republican nomination, although H. Clinton – a non-populist – remains the favourite for the forthcoming elections. But she will be forced to take into account her pushing opponents and to use populist rhetoric. A tendency becomes apparent that populists will play an increasingly important role in American politics. M. Bloomberg’s thought to run for US president as independent candidate may reflect the establishment’s dismay, their fear that a populist will win.
    European examples shows that populists already are in power in some countries, and are permanently shaking the EU foundations. Populists often raise good questions but give bad answers. They reflect the frustration of people with traditional politics and politicians. More and more elements of show penetrate into politics as well as the ability to speak the language of “the man in the street”.
    At first glance, the American political system is balanced and strong enough to withstand the attacks of populists and transform them into traditional politicians who play in accordance with established rules. But the world is changing quite fast and not for the better. This time H. Clinton may win, but after four years…

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1 Comment

  1. sirous 1 day ago

    The world cannot afford to have a person like hitler or ahmadinejad in the US go to the whote house.

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