Populism

This week we read and discuss the rise of populism and populist nationalism as a global phenomenon. The key reading is Rogers Brubaker’s article “Why Populism?” In the article Brubaker notes that populism is not an ideology, but “a discursive and stylistic repertoire (p.360) …[an] evolving set of relatively standardized elements (p.360)…built around a core element: the claim to speak and to act in the name of “the people… and against “the elite.” (p.361). Brubaker also notes that, politically, populism has its right-wing and its left-wing variants – and that both sides use the language or discourse of populism as part of their political strategies. In the recent US election, and for the past several years, there has been a rise in the language and appeals to populism from both Democrats (such as Bernie Sanders and President-Elect Joe Biden) as well as Republicans (Donald Trump, Fox News, etc).

For your 250-500 word writing response, please identify as least 2 key types or elements of the populist “repertoire” discussed by Brubaker and as then share examples of each type or element of this populist appeal from the recent US elections – for example from a speech by President-elect Biden, or campaign material from candidate Bernie Sanders, or from campaign speeches or ads from the Republican party. Reflecting on the success of these appeals, why would you say the recent rise in populist rhetoric has taken hold? Why are populists appeals and populist language or discourbcqse used by both Democrats and Republicans?

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