"Populism is central to current debates about politics, from radical right parties in Europe to left-wing presidents in Latin America to the Tea Party in the United States. But populism is also one of the most contested concepts in the social sciences. This book offers a timely and wide-ranging guide to understanding populism both in theory and practice, highlighting its relevance for the contemporary political debate"--
"Populism is a central concept in the current media debates about politics and elections. However, like most political buzzwords, the term often floats from one meaning to another, and both social scientists and journalists use it to denote diverse phenomena. What is populism really? Who are the populist leaders? And what is the relationship between populism and democracy? This book answers these questions in a simple and persuasive way, offering a swift guide to populism in theory and practice. Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovera Kaltwasser present populism as an ideology that divides society into two antagonistic camps, the "pure people" versus the "corrupt elite," and that privileges the general will of the people above all else. They illustrate the practical power of this ideology through a survey of representative populist movements of the modern era: European right-wing parties, left-wing presidents in Latin America, and the Tea Party movement in the United States. The authors delve into the ambivalent personalities of charismatic populist leaders such as Juan Domingo Péron, H. Ross Perot, Jean-Marie le Pen, Silvio Berlusconi, and Hugo Chávez. If the strong male leader embodies the mainstream form of populism, many resolute women, such as Eva Péron, Pauline Hanson, and Sarah Palin, have also succeeded in building a populist status, often by exploiting gendered notions of society. Although populism is ultimately part of democracy, populist movements constitute an increasing challenge to democratic politics. Comparing political trends across different countries, this compelling book debates what the long-term consequences of this challenge could be, as it turns the spotlight on the bewildering effect of populism on today's political and social life."--
This work argues that at populism's core is a rejection of pluralism. Populists will always claim that they and they alone represent the people and their true interests. Müller also shows that, contrary to conventional wisdom, populists can govern on the basis of their claim to exclusive moral representation of the people: if populists have enough power, they will end up creating an authoritarian state that excludes all those not considered part of the proper "people." The book proposes a number of concrete strategies for how liberal democrats should best deal with populists and, in particular, how to counter their claims to speak exclusively for "the silent majority" or "the real people." - Provided by the publisher
In their pursuit of being elected, politicians might not provide their constituents with independent viewpoints, but just try to outguess popular opinion. Although rational voters see through such populism, candidates can not resist resorting to it when the spoils of office are too large. For an intermediate parameter range, both populism and its opposite, “candor”, can be sustained as equilibria. This means that the public’s trust or distrust in politicians may be self-fulfilling prophecies. Importantly, the more informed politicians are about public opinion, the more likely it is that populist behavior can be avoided.