Democracy Dismantled: Why the Populist Threat Is Real and Serious

Democracy Dismantled: Why the Populist Threat Is Real and Serious
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather during a rally, Denver, Colorado, March 4, 2017 (AP photo by Brennan Linsley).

U.S. President Donald Trump campaigned as an outsider candidate, though under the banner of the Republican Party. His message was decidedly populist and continues to be: He alone can save the country from the challenges it faces; the elite and traditional establishment are dangerous and corrupt; the mainstream media cannot be trusted; and other tropes commonly used by populists. America’s election of a president promoting this type of message has led many experts on authoritarian politics to draw parallels between what’s happening in the United States, a country with well-established and robust democratic institutions, and developments seen in authoritarian settings. […]

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