President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in support of Republican Senate candidates in Dalton, Georgia, Jan. 4, 2021 (AP photo by Brynn Anderson).
Over the past decade, illiberal populist leaders from across the political spectrum have won elections and taken power in many of the world’s biggest democracies, from the United States to India, the Philippines, Turkey and Brazil. Once in office, they have often undermined democratic norms and institutions, including the media, the judiciary, the civil service, and, in many cases, free and fair elections themselves. The rise of illiberal populism is a major reason why the annual “Freedom in the World” reports, published by the global watchdog organization Freedom House, have charted 14 straight years of global democratic regression. (I serve [...]
Supporters listen as then-President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).
Can there be Trumpism without Trump? In the wake of the Capitol riot, this is an urgent, but also surprisingly complicated question. After half a decade of debate, it is still far from obvious that we know what “Trumpism” actually is. Some have taken it as a local instance of a global phenomenon often described as the “wave of populism,” or as part of a worldwide revolt against neoliberalism. For example, as social scientists Jonathan Hopkin and Mark Blyth have put it, “Trump is a data point. Global Trumpism is a structural shift.” But it is important to recognize that [...]
Members of the Oath Keepers attend a rally in support of Donald Trump, Washington, Jan. 5, 2021 (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).
After security forces beat back the pro-Trump extremists that had occupied the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, shaken lawmakers returned to continue the work they had started that afternoon: certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. “They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed,” Mitch McConnell, then the Senate majority leader, proclaimed triumphantly. But the would-be insurrectionists “don’t look at this as a failure,” says Colin Clarke, an expert on domestic and transnational terrorism at the Soufan Group. “They look at this as an overwhelming and resounding success … a rallying cry for the far right.” Earlier this [...]
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