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Mia Brett 👸🏻 @QueenMab87
, 15 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
A thread on populism because apparently no one knows what it is /1
Populism sees "the people" as a homogenous group who is inherently good fighting against "the elite" or "the establishment" seen as corrupt and self serving /2
Historically both in the US and in Europe this anti-elite rhetoric has been used to be anti-semitic and anti-intellectual while accusing the elite of placing the interests of immigrants or minorities above the interests of the true heartland "people." /3
Populist movements are often xenophobic, nationalistic, nativist, and racist while imagining a pure homogeneous morally good "people." /4
@CasMudde who is a poli sci professor emphasizes this homogeneity and morality when discussing the difference between populism and democracy /5…
Scholars disagree about populism having to be a racist movement but most acknowledge the common threads of xenophobia, etc even if it's theoretically possible for the movement to be more diverse. Here @CasMudde says most populist movements are xenophobic or at least white /6
Anti-elite rhetoric particularly in the US almost always includes intellectuals /7
Populism isn’t the political expression of a pre-existing working’s how individuals use a grievance to identify themselves as the authentic embodiment of “the people”—unlike those other people, the group they are blaming for that grievance /8…
In the US Andrew Jackson is sometimes considered a populist president and his rhetoric was extremely anti intellectual and of course anti Native American /9
A defining populist movement in the US was the People's Party (or populist party) in the late 19th century which was focused on farmers and workers and was anti modern as well as strongly nativist. The Progressive movement was also nativist and racist /10
Worker's rights movements that specifically fought for protections and unions don't fit into this populist framework because they did not advocate for themselves using this rhetoric or see themselves as a large homogenous group /11
Historian Richard Hofstadter in particular saw the 19th century populist movements as racist and nativist. He connected the anti-elitism of the 1890s to the anti-communist fervor of the 1950s /12
In contemporary American the Tea Party as well as Trump's popularity can both be related to populism. Far right movements in Europe can also be based in populism. The Yellow Vests have combined far right and far left movements in the name of economic solidarity /13
Historians and political scientists can debate and disagree about the necessity of populism to include racism/xenophobia. However the link is widely accepted as a reasonable interpretation and understanding of populist movements /14
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