The New Populism, conducted by The Guardian
Populist parties have more than tripled their support in Europe in the last 20 years, securing enough votes to put their leaders into government posts in 11 countries and challenging the established political order across the continent.
The steady growth in support for European populist parties, particularly on the right, is revealed in a groundbreaking analysis of their performance in national elections in 31 European countries over two decades, conducted by the Guardian in conjunction with more than 30 leading political scientists.
Populists tend to frame politics as a battle between the virtuous ‘ordinary’ masses and a nefarious or corrupt elite – and insist that the general will of the people must always triumph. The Guardian is adopting the classic definition of populism proposed by political scientist Cas Mudde. Populism, he says, is often combined with a ‘host’ ideology, which can either be on the left or right.
Against the backdrop of increasing populist vote share and influence, the Guardian is launching a six-month investigative series to explore who the new populists are, what factors brought them to power, and what they are doing once in office.
Claudia Alvares, an associate professor at Lusofona University in Lisbon, who was not involved in the Guardian research project, said: “The success of such politicians has very much to do with their capacity to convince their audiences that they do not belong to the traditional political system. As such, they are on a par with the people to the extent that neither they nor the people belong to the ‘corrupt’ elites.”
She said social media had a role to play in the rise of populism, its algorithmic model rewarding and promoting adversarial messages. “The anger that populist politicians manage to channel is fuelled by social media posts, because social media are very permeable to the easy spread of emotion. The end result is a rise in the polarisation of political and journalistic discourse.”
To read the whole new, consult the site of The Guardian:
And also see the interesting analysis about this study on the page of Democracy Digest: