The Populist Wave Will Continue

The Populist Wave Will Continue
Supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party in traditional attire shout slogans during a rally addressed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Feb. 9, 2019 (AP photo by Anupam Nath).

A year ago, there were premature predictions that the populist wave would soon crest around the world. Yet sure enough, populists then won elections in Brazil, Italy and Mexico. Now, some political observers are again arguing that populism has already peaked, even though populist leaders like the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte maintain extraordinarily high popularity, with one recent poll showing Duterte’s approval rating at 81 percent.

Populism “faces its darkest hour” in 2019, Gideon Rachman recently predicted in the Financial Times. Max Fisher claimed in The New York Times that populism had a “rocky” time in the West last year, citing, among other things, the Democratic Party’s gains in the U.S. midterm elections and mixed election results for Poland’s populist Law and Justice party in local elections. Fisher cited Cas Mudde, a Dutch political scientist and leading scholar of populism, who “has predicted that the movement’s once-meteoric rise will become ‘modest’ and ‘uneven’ in 2019, with more setbacks ahead.”

To be sure, some populists in North America and Europe are struggling, whether in government or, like the far-right Alternative for Germany, to grow their appeal and build coalitions that could propel them to win local and national elections. Nonetheless, the populist wave seems more likely than not to keep rising this year and next, with potential new victories on the horizon.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.