What's left of populism

The term has transformed from its original sense but in the last decades populist leaders have risen all around the world. 

Many politicians have been labeled as populist at least one time in their career. This happens because the term is usually used to describe a form of politics that counts with a charismatic leader, good discourse and demagogy.

This doesn't represents populism only, and can be used by any other form of politics.

In fact, populism is "a thin-centered ideology that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups, ‘the pure people’ and ‘the corrupt elite’, and which argues that politics should be an expression of the volonté general (general will) of the people."

Despite this definition the term has transformed from its original sense and politicians either left or right winged, with a populist speech have risen.

Appealing to the population's concerns, focusing on blaming someone or something else for the country's problems or aiming to change the whole system certainly resonates in people's mind.

Latin America has seen both right and left wing populists, who in the last decade dominated the region, such as Rafael Correa, Hugo Chavez and Alvaro Uribe.

But populist governments in the region are in decline. Venezuela's economic and social crisis have the country in the verge of larger conflicts, with the National Assembly, under opposition control, pressuring President Nicolas Maduro to resign. Evo Morales in Bolivia recently lost a referendum to extend his mandate.

Europe has also seen the rise of populism, especially right-wing with parties like the Front National in France, the Danish People's party, Podemos in Spain or United Kingdom Independence Party, UKIP, in the UK. Mainly far-right parties are the ones gaining popularity.

Its rise is partly explained by the refugee crisis caused by the Syrian civil war, but this is rather an accelerator. The underlying causes relate more to Germany's intransigence to the European Parliament recommendations during the crisis as well as the globalization of the economy and conflict.  

The US has also its part in this phenomenon. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are considered as populist leaders.

Trump with his xenophobic views and proposals to 'make America great again' has him winning the GOP primaries. Sanders pointing out the 'rigged economy' and the corrupt campaign finance system makes a point which also resonates, especially among the young voters.

Even though the essence of populism is rare to encounter in politics nowadays, leaders have manage to win over the majority's support with this type of speech to gain power. Nonetheless populism is context-dependent with many of its  examples relying on a general discontent with current administrations.

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