What we talk about when we talk about populism

Populism. Everyone is talking about it. Populism’s once small foothold in the electoral systems of Europe has expanded to a full-blown phenomenon that has heralded the rise of Geert Wilders and the PVV in The Netherlands, Nigel Farage and Brexit in the UK, and Donald Trump in the US. And yet attempting to define populism is no easy task. It encompasses an incredibly complex and flexible set of ideas without one common, binding ideology. So, instead of offering a precise definition of populism, let’s instead take a look at the symptoms that frequently alert us to its presence. The Style Although many refer to populism as though it were a specific delineated ideology, it should rather be viewe

The economy, the news, and the public

It is a phenomenon as ubiquitous as it is elusive: the economy. When asked, most people have an idea — by and large — of how the national economy is doing. Some have personally experienced certain economic advancements or setbacks or know people who recently found or lost a job. However, more than by such first‐ or second‐hand experiences, people learn about the economic situation by reading and watching the news. This idea is empirically confirmed by research showing how negative economic news leads to lower levels of consumer confidence, above and beyond the impact of real economic trends (e.g., Blood & Philips, 1995; Hollanders & Vliegenthart, 2011). But while negative news leads to more

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