Rise of populist parties in Europe and the USA

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Rise of populist parties in Europe and the USA

  1. What is populism and what are populist parties?

Populism is a way of policy that says that the common people are exploited by a small elite. The political ideology can be right, left or middle.

Even if today the term populism is mostly used for right wing populism and it is also used in a negative way, populism itself is not a demagogy, even if the term is used for it. In the 20th and 21st Century the terms ´´populist`` and ´´populistic`` were used to describe anti-elitist appelas against established interests or parties.

For example in the 1870s and 1880s there was a lot of agrarian unrest in the USA because prices were lowered. As Answer to that in the whole country political movemnets were formed which came together to the ´´People´s party`` The drive to form the new party came out of the belief that both the Republican and the Democratic Parties are controlled by bankers, landowners and other rich people.

There are four different kinds of populism

1.Populistic democracy which wants more political participation for example with referendums

2.politicians populism which is non-ideological and appeals the people to build a unified coalition

3.Reactionary populism, where the people are afraid of change

4.Populist dictatorship, in which there is a person who´s seen as the ´´Heart of the movement´

Because populism is using the term of conspiracist scapegoating is is often used by fascists.

    1. Which populist parties do we have and what are the differences and similarities between them?

      In nowadays we have got a lot of different populist parties what all of them have is a conservative nationalistic ideology. The want to go ``Back to the Nation`` with slogans as ´´America First`` or ´´Make Brittain Great again``. Some of them are even reigning and those countries are on the best way to get presidential systems or autocracys.

      There are verry shocking examples as Turky with Recep Tayyp Erdogan or Hungary with Viktor Órban but also countrys as Poland have huge problems with their separation of powers and are on the best way into liberal authoritarianism.

      Even if the western European right-wing populists have different election programs there are some thoughts they are sharing together. They thing that globalization brings poverty to the European countries, Immigrants want to infiltrate our western Nations and steal our Jobs and the politicians are only exploiting the people.

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They are promising a strong nation with national Identity. They are provoking and taboos- breaking to get known and get a lot of atteintion.

An other politician who really knows how to get a lot of attention is Donald Trump, the new president of the USA, a part of the Republican Party. Even if no one knows, populism is not a new thing in Republican policy. In the 1960s Nixon started to appeal to ´´The forgotten Americans, the non-shouters and non-demonstrators``.

Because the Democratic party started o move left there was a new group of people who were not for black civil rights movements, new sexual Norms or against the Vietnam war. In this time the term of ´´Silent Majority`` was often used. That´s typical for populists, the big group of people was repressed by a small one.

Nixon and Reagan were fighting the ´´liberal elites`` but since the 1990s the Republicans are criticizing all parts of the Government. That created a seedbed for Donald Trump. With his surrealistic program and his populist electioneering he became the President of the United States.

In my opinion the election in the USA is a perfect example for how our politic is moving into something where emotions are more important than content. On the other hand we can see what that brings.

What happened to out society? Brexit, 34.2 Percent for Marion LePen, 20 Perccent for Geert Wilders, 46.2 Percent for Geert Wilders and the AfD in Germany is also coming. Why are there so many people who vote for those national thoughts? In the last years Europe and the European Union had to go through a lot of different problems: the Euro Crisis, Mass Migration and Terrorism.

A lot of people don´t feel represented by their government. An other group feels suspended and left behind, they can not understand why their country is helping out others. They don´t know a lot about the European Union and only hear the negative. There is no one to adress their discontent and if there is someone telling them who´s guilty for their problems they believe it.

Some voters are also frustrated by how their party has changed. They feel cheated by the established parties and vote for a populist party or don´t vote at all. There is also a lot of attention given to the populists. They get a lot of free media because of their shocking statements and behavior.

This also makes them interesting for protest voters.

What´s interesting about the new populists is that they are making right thinking socially acceptable. The old right-wing extremist parties were mostly uneducated man, often violent or criminal that were shouting old Nazi paroles. The new right wing is educated and eloquent.

    4. Why are they dangerous?

If you take a look at populists reigning countries you can see that they are

´´reforming`` them into presidential systems, or liberal authoritarianism.

Populists see themselves as the only solution and as the one and only ´´Voice of the Country``. They are anti-pluralistic and don´t accept other forms of living. A good example is a sentanca that Donald Trump said ´´The only thing that matters is the unification of the people,and all the other people don´t matter.`` Such sentences split a cuntry into the ones that believe in the system and the leaders and those who don´t.

This splits a country and tells that the opinion and political ideology is less worthy.

We can see that in Hungary, a country that is on the best way to autocracy. Viktor Orbán was even thinking about the reintroduction of death penalty. If a party or politician is against pluralism the day will come when he is trying to ban it.

  1. What can we do against them?

In my Opinion there are many reasons why someone can vote for a populist party.

I think it is important to have more political education at schools, normal people should understand how politics work and then there will be less misunderstanding. There needs to be more straightforwardness in politics and the established parties need to find a new way of communication.

An other thing that is very important for me is that there shouldn´t be so much attention payed to those politicians. They get a lot off free media because of their shocking and inn acceptable statements. That´s how they get what they want. It is also important that established parties don´t try to imitate the populists, because that gives them a stage.

Last but not least a good thing to do against populism is going to the election, because it is important to use the right our democracy gives us


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Die Zeit 18 Mai 2017 S11. Politik ´´Finger weg von der EU`` von Slawomir


Frankfurter Allgemeine Wochenzeitung 6.12.2016 Titelthema ´´Zurück zur Nation S. 15 von Stephan Löwenstein, Andreas Nefzger, Michael Stabenov und Michaela Weigel

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