Populism is in decline

Positive trends don’t make headlines because the people who talk most publicly about these issues would need to admit their earlier theories were wrong.

Viktor Orbán (right) and Andrej Babiš during the latter's campaign rally in Ústí nad Labem in early October 2021. Viktor Orbán (right) and Andrej Babiš during the latter's campaign rally in Ústí nad Labem in early October 2021. (Source: Sme - Marko Erd)

Over the past five years, there has been reason to worry about a wave of political populism sweeping the globe. I have written plenty articles on the topic and there is now an entire arm of the book publishing industry dedicated to this genre. But it’s strange how little you hear about any information that indicates populism is actually in decline — including recent results from the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project’s annual poll.

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Populist leaders like to define “the people” as a group that is being wronged by some special interest group — elites, immigrants, bankers or a specific ethnic or religious group, to take a few examples. These “others” are said to be impeding the “will of the people” and blaming them for social problems makes for easy solutions.

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