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Populism seen as a potentially positive force

January 23rd, 2019

A conservative pundit wonders if populist politics can go beyond mere demagogic ranting and design policies that help the masses grapple with economic and identity-related challenges.

On Mandiner, Barnabás Leimeszter wonders if populist movements can transform postmodern capitalism into a more humane world, or if populism will remain a movement of angry trolls. The conservative analyst points out that left-wing liberals have recently realized the value of populist rhetoric, and sometimes try to emulate a populist political rhetoric and style. Cosmopolitan liberals, however, fail to understand that the success of populism is not due to populist stunts, Leimeszter writes. Suggesting that they are also part of the regular people rather than a cultural elite, will not make left-wing liberal politicians more popular, he continues. In order to win back their popularity, they would need to go beyond co-opting angry and vulgar trolling performances and offer meaningful answers to everyday people’s financial as well as identity-related fears, Leimeszter contends. He concludes by acknowledging that the often demagogic anti-establishment and anti-elite ranting of right-wing populists may not translate into meaningful political visions either. The big challenge for all kinds of populists will be to implement their promises and design policy frameworks that enable people lagging behind to catch up, Leimeszter concludes.