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The Politics of Fear and Loathing. Coming to Terms with a Decade of Radical Discontent and Liberal Malaise
Twice in the last decade, Orwell’s seminal dystopia 1984 topped best-sellers list. In 2013, after Edward Snowden leaked revelations about the NSA’s widespread surveillance operations, 1984 sales rose dramatically amid an explosion of references to the book’s totalitarian, tentacular entity, the “Big Brother” . It spiked again, by more than 9500%, in late 2017, when a White House aide casually evoked the existence of “alternative facts” when faced with her own previous erroneous statements.

Alexis CHAPELAN

15/03/2020 Region: European Union Topic: Geopolitics

An Age of Anxiety?

     Twice in the last decade, Orwell’s seminal dystopia 1984 topped best-sellers list. In 2013, after Edward Snowden leaked revelations about the NSA’s widespread surveillance operations, 1984 sales rose dramatically amid an explosion of references to the book’s totalitarian, tentacular entity, the “Big Brother”[1]. It spiked again, by more than 9500%, in late 2017, when a White House aide casually evoked the existence of “alternative facts” when faced with her own previous erroneous statements[2]. This may seem - and as a matter of fact is - a relatively innocuous piece of information, by and large. There is nothing shocking or ground breaking in the ebb and flow in popularity of an acclaimed classic and a mainstay of literature studies in high-schools and universities across the globe. Yet this growing pique of interest is telling us something about the overarching narrative of our times, like so many other tiny, apparently insignificant details weaving the fabric of life and culture of a particular era. This is all even truer when considering the larger cultural dynamic underpinning this revitalized upward commercial trend: editors are quick to point to a broader boom of dystopian literature production and consumption over the last decade. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here and other titles of the genre are now recurrent best-sellers[3]. Bleak depictions of liberticide societies and the struggles to overthrow them are permeating popular culture. Launched in 2008, Suzanne Collins’ series The Hunger Games and its cinematic adaptations (the last instalment of which was release in 2015) stormed with brisk efficiency the world of young adult fiction, grossing billions worldwide. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid's Tale (originally published in 1985) spawned a thriving TV series in 2017 and a hugely successful sequel to the novel in 2019 (one copy selling every 4 seconds in the UK alone for the week of its release[4]). 2019 also witnessed another unexpected blockbuster - Todd Philip’s Joker, which pitted the main character’s slow descent into madness against the backdrop of a nightmarish, collapsing fictional polity - garner thunderous reviews and more than one billion dollars worldwide in gross revenues[5].

Dystopias are much more than a blossoming market, they the hallmark of a profoundly existential cultural moment. They are the fictional lenses through which are articulated all-too-real collective angsts, and the threads connecting these dark make-believe universes to current societal dynamics are sparingly evident: debates over the tentacular nature of digital surveillance (whether state-controlled, as it was the case for the NSA’s programs exposed by Snowden in 2013[6], or profit-oriented, as in the case of the Big Tech[7]), political authoritarianism and police repression, gaping inequality, reality TV and mass culture, rollback on hard-won rights (especially women’s rights and abortion, with the nomination of staunchly conservative Justices at the Supreme Court by the Trump administration or the watering down of domestic violence legislation in Putin’s Russia[8]) or even the growing salience of new medical technologies effectively redefining biology[9].

Few things are more political - or prone to politicization - than fear. Dystopias reflect this variable geometry of anxiety, along fault lines drawn by political communities of belonging. There is a undoubtedly a certain ideological partition of “spheres of influence”: The Handmaid’s Tale, for instance, with its chilling visions of State-enforced theocratic fanaticism and enslaved cohorts of women reduced to birth-giving machines, resonates well with progressives and pro-feminist movements, while Huxley’s nightmarish anti-consumerism and anti-technology literary charge echoes more closely conservative disenchantment with modernity. Sometimes, one single book, such as Orwell’s masterpiece, can become a “symbolic node” which sees multiple and antagonistic political narratives cut across and compete for the chance of imposing their own dominant meaning in collective consciousness. There is a conservative reading of Orwell, focusing on free speech (one of the new ideology of the global conservative right[10]) and on the allegedly newspeak-esque political correctness stifling “dissident” taught on themes such as multiculturalism, immigration, LGBT rights or abortion among many others[11]. But 1984 also strongly appeals to a liberal, anti-authoritarian ethos, and progressive spirits were quick to point out the “Orwellian soul” of president Trump’s regime, and draw parallels between populism’s vengeful tone and the Party-mandated Two Minutes Hate in 1984[12]. Left-wing French publicist Laurent Joffrin posits:

Orwell in his time had correctly diagnosed this disease in Nineteen Eighty-Four, showing how brazen lies unapologetically forced upon society can be a formidable political weapon. He then had totalitarian regimes in mind. Nowadays, one is forced to admit this diagnosis applies to some of the world’s foremost democracies[13].

     But a caveat must be issued. However believable, enthralling and poignant, literature is not a fool proof tool for reading the present - and even less the future. Internet and pharmaceutics have not hatched into being Brave New World’s aseptic and robotic humanity, reality TV shows have not morphed into Hunger Game-style murderous jousts, and Donald Trump, however worrying his theatrics may be, still resembles more Andrew Jackson or Berry Goldwater than the mysterious, superhuman Big Brother. Dystopias, and the way we consume and make sense of them, are much more a roadmap of our inner sense of reality than of the effective material conditions of our existence. In other words, they speak of us, in a language permeated by our culture and political identities, not of the world around us.

     So, what does this fascination for dystopias, across the political board, tell us about ourselves. The answer is very simple, and probably disappointingly predictable: that we are afraid, afraid and uncertain about what the future holds. Anxiety runs deep in all political cultures, providing essential ideological fuel for mobilizations, from the Occupy Wall Street movement, to the Gilets Jaunes protests. But while these manifestations undoubtedly exhibited variegated political and ideological hues, muddying even more the fault lines between political identities, the decade had one clear winner: populism.

      The politics of fear and loathing: how populists stormed the establishment 

      The 2010s didn’t invent populism, far from it. It is surprising how sparse are the real doctrinal innovations brought about by the new decade. The main ideological architecture of populism was roughly in place by the beginning of the new millennium, and occasional political upsets (the Freedom Party of Austria’s entrance into a government coalition in 2000 or Jean Marie Le Pen’s stunning runoff with Jacque Chirac in the 2002 French presidential elections) exhibited theatrics and a rhetoric uncannily familiar to the present-day observer. Tropes such as globalization, mass immigration, the European “super-state”, national identities, corruption and the contempt of the establishment for the “little man” were already weaving a simple yet potent narrative of elite betrayal and people’s purity, which has known few significant amendments since then.

     Scholarly debates enriched the conceptual framing of the phenomenon. The scientific validity of the very notion of populism was re-established, after decade in which it was dismissed as a “pseudo-concept[14]” crippled by “polysemous overuse[15]” or political weaponization. Populism suffered from a conceptual over-stretching that Isaiah Berlin wittily christened “the Cinderella Complex”:

There exists a shoe – the word "populism" – for which somewhere there must exist a foot. There are all kinds of feet which nearly fit [...] The prince is always wandering about with the shoe. And somewhere, we feel sure, there awaits a limb called pure populism. This is the nucleus of populism, its essence[16].

A young Dutch scholar, Cas Mudde, decided to cut through this Gordian knot of definitions and concepts with a simple yet engaging intuition: populism was less than an ideology (such as fascism, communism, liberalism or corporatism), but more than a mere style of political verbal and non-verbal communication (such as shouting, deriding enemies, using course, uncomplicated language or losing the tie on stage). It is a “thin-centred ideology”, aggregated around a few core beliefs, who piggybacks onto more robustly fleshed-out ideological hosts[17]. Left-wing populism, for example, feeds off socialism; right-wing populism can attach himself to nationalism or fascism. It can also thrive on less conventional associations: Alberto Fujimori in Peru or Carlos Menem in Argentina enacted a relatively successful populist neo-liberalism[18] and, more recently, liberal candidate Emmanuel Macron also had several attempts on the 2017 presidential campaign trail to frame himself as a populist maverick hell-bent on cleaning a broken and delegitimized system[19].

Mudde’s article was called The Populist Zeitgeist. At that time, the title seemed, at best, strained: the world then was far from being menaced by a populist tidal wave. Two events changed the global perception on populism: the Brexit vote on the 23rd of June 2016 and the election of Donald Trump on the 8th of November 2016. In 2017, the catastrophic tenure of centre-left French president François Hollande propelled the anti-establishment Front National into the second round of the presidential race. Meanwhile, a populist Mitteleuropa emerged, with countries like Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania (albeit briefly), Austria and Italy all experienced bouts of illiberalism. Populism made inroads or captured well-established parties, such as in the United States, Hungary or Poland but it can also utilize as political vehicles formerly fringe anti-system parties, such as in France and Italy. The second strategic approach was often accompanied by a complex ideological process of “de-demonization” through which the far-right heritage of these radical challengers was rendered invisible or marginalized. The French Rassemblement National (formerly Front National)[20] or the Hungarian Jobbik[21] abandoned explicit anti-Semite tropes, but successfully recomposed an alternative exclusionary axis of “otherness” around immigration and Islam. Islamophobia is thus often ostentatiously construed as a performative anti-anti-Semitism, populists singling out Muslim minorities or far-left activists for their alleged anti-Semitic violence[22]. A further break with the traditional far-right or conservative agenda is enacted by what Gael Brustier coined “security hedonism”[23]. Identity politics and Western exceptionalism can be constructed around a liberal-libertarian nucleus, and multiculturalism can be antagonized as a threat to gender equality, sexual tolerance and freedom of speech, among other core liberal values. This shift from ethnic nationalism to “civilizationism[24]”, apparent especially in Western and Northern Europe, is a strategic move to break the cordon sanitaire isolating right-wing populism, but also a novel ideological formula, which incorporates evolving societal norms and values into a new synthesis.

When populists fail to seize seats of power, their discourse moulds the public sphere and infuses the rhetoric of their political opponents, especially on the traditional right and moderate centre-right[25]. The agenda-setting potential of populism far exceeds its coalition potential, and often predates actual governmental takeovers (this was well documented in the case of Italy[26]), thus lodging an ideological tension at the very heart of the democratic system. They normalize their ideas and colonize the ideological “common sense”[27] on immigration, security, multiculturalism and a host of other issues, thus delegitimizing the moral cordon sanitaire put in place by other parties, who in turn are often pillaging populist programs and discourse. 

A further testament to the adaptability of the populist formula is its growing ideological investment in the political economy of the precariat[28]. The returns on investment proved to be rapid and robust. Themes such as pauperisation, unemployment, inequality or social mobility are now central to populist discourse (on the right as well as on the left), who exhibits an increasingly salient anti-neoliberal bent. By framing welfare in terms of deservingness and competitiveness in what is presented essentially as a zero-sum game, welfare nativism allowed populists to best articulate what was a somewhat dangling thread of their doctrine: the idea that there is somehow a perverse collusion between plutocratic elites and ghettoised, disfranchised and ostensibly disadvantaged minorities (be it sexual minorities or immigrants). The access to the State’s limited resources enacts the symbolic intersection between the vertical (the pure people against corrupt elites) and the horizontal (indigenous white population against non-native elements) axes of Otherness: indeed, it is only with the complicity of political and media elites that immigrants have allegedly been able to “hijack” large swaths of the welfare benefits to the detriment of the native-born. This fiction restored a certain homogeneity of the enemy, allowing a more efficient mobilization and weaponization of discontent. Moreover, like the defence of a core set of ostensibly liberal values (sexual openness, gender equality, secularism, etc.), support for generous albeit restrictive welfare schemes acted effectively as a bridgehead to the mainstream, constituting the centrepiece of right-wing populists’ catch-all electoral strategy. The more these aspects can be embedded into an affective definition of the national identity, the more effective this strategy appears. The salience and success of such narrative depend as a result on national political cultures. “Security hedonistic” discourse has a particular appeal in countries like Denmark and the Netherlands, where tolerance and permissiveness are widely perceived positively and have been precociously integrated into a narrative of national exceptionalism that ought to be preserved and protected[29]. Similarly, Sweden[30] or France[31] (both countries with robust social-democrat or even, for the latter, communist traditions) often expressed their national exceptionalism in terms of their social security system and its ability to enact national solidarity – it is unsurprising that in these countries welfare nativism infused more strongly populist agendas.

Populism or Populisms?

Populist rhetoric proved to be essentially a fluid form with an eminently variable geometry. The last decade, which saw both an ideological complexification of populism and a geographical extension of populist networks, hatched a form of populism à la carte, exhibiting both strikingly similar traits and specific cultural nuances. Trump (USA), Bolsonaro (Brazil), the Brexit Party (Great Britain), the AfD (Germany), Vox (Spain), the Rassemblement National (France), Lega Nord (Italy) or Duterte (Philippines) are tracing the contours of a complexified populist cartography straddling multiple cultural, religious and political traditions. The symbolic and ideological distance between its cardinal points has never been smaller: Bolsonaro and Trump have more in common than Peron and, say, Father Coughlin had in the 1940s. The intensification of ideological flows across an increasingly interdependent ideoscape[32] is a trend most visible in the last ten years: movements and leaders in countries as different as the United States and Brazil are constructing a master-narrative using roughly the same “building blocks” (or, to use Arjun Apparundai’s terms, the same “keywords”). A pure hard-working people, an arrogant cosmopolitan elite, a corrupt and biased media establishment, a threat of economic and cultural wipe-out through mass immigration, globalization and neoliberal individualism: this is a universal recipe for populism.

 Some relatively new tropes emerged in the cusp of populist rhetoric, spreading globally like ideological wildfire: notions such as “free speech crisis” and “political correctness” are compelling vehicles of populist rhetoric, framing the dichotomy between a shady and authoritarian elites keen on policing thought and speech (and striking down as racist, homophobic or sexist what challenges them) and honest, commonsensical majorities. Such narrative accounts to a large extent for the cultural resilience of trumpism, probably more than brutish racism and sexism per se. Trump’s opposition to fake news and anti-hate speech Internet laws[33], or his promise to defend freedom of speech on university campuses (depicted in the conservative imaginary as bastions of left-wing quasi-totalitarian hegemony),[34] have been met with applause from his base. In 2019, a student who was attacked on campus for supporting Donald Trump was invited on stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference next to the president, while the audience cheered and hurrahed loudly[35]. Protection of free speech (or at least certain types of free speech) and the fight against allegedly rampant political correctness infused Trump’s narrative with a sense of cultural warfare that helped counter the dulling of his anti-system edge. The “free speech” topes travelled across the Atlantic to Europe: in France, railing the “bien-pensants” (conformists) of the establishment who try to silence dissident opinions on themes such as migration, race or security is now a leitmotiv. In a speech at the National Assembly, Marine le Pen opposed the anti-fake news legislative package, arguing it endangers freedom of expression in the very nation of the French Revolution: “Freedom of expression is an everyday battle, our history and our past, including our recent past, makes it a moral obligation[36].” The leader of the Rassemblement National evoked the 2015 Charlie Hebdo tragedy, when cartoonists were targeted by terrorists for satirical drawings of Prophet Mohammed: “Five years ago, in France, eight staff members of a satirical magazine died for using their fundamental right to free speech. [...] Back then, you all were Charlie, we were Charlie, France was Charlie[37].” Such themes and the weaponization of free speech unite mainstream populist movements like the Rassemblement National and far-right radicals such as Holocaust denier Alain Soral[38], just like in the USA the trope of the “crisis of the First Amendment” bridges mainstream conservatism, Trumpian populism and the alt-right[39].

     Other tropes are also universalizing quickly, taking roots and bearing ideological fruits in very different soils. One such a “success story” is the notion of “deep state”. It was widely circulated during the Trump campaign and used successfully to boost his anti-establishment narrative even when Trump and his administration took over the executive branch of power following the 2016 victory[40]. In France, the same idea was epitomized by the formula “gouvernement des juges” (government by judges), denounced both by Marine le Pen[41] and right-wing populist polemicists such as Eric Zemmour[42]. Such phrases are potent vehicles of populist worldviews: they allow power feuds with the judiciary (in France) or government agencies (in Trump’s case) to be framed as vital moral battles between the people and elites. Populism is at heart an insurgency bid, and its most effective story is the one of the honest underdogs going against the powerful, the pullers of strings, and winning against formidable odds; David against Goliath, fundamentally. Fighting the “deep state” and its avatars enacts an ersatz, paradoxical outsider posturing even when populist do seize and exert power.

However, if the populist core imaginary has grown sensibly more homogenous during the last decade, it remains solidly rooted in national specificities. Diversity and even antagonism are still the norm. UKIP long refused association with the Front National on grounds of anti-Semitism[43]. After a resounding failure in 2014[44], in 2019 a “populist group” laboriously emerged in the European Parliament (Identity and Democracy), but it does not contain movements like the Polish PiS, Hungary’s Fidesz or Czeck Republic’s ANO 2011. Even further to the right, “fringe” radical right populists like Jobbik or Golden Down are cast out to the informal Non-attached Members “group”, rubbing shoulders with communists, regional pro-independence and “satirical” parties[45]. There is still an operative “ladder of respectability” within populism that might mean Nigel Farage can disparage the Front National as anti-Semitic and extremist, and the Front National can refuse to sit in the same political group as Jobbik (who as a matter of fact accused the FN of being a “Zionist” party[46]) in the EP.

     Even where agreement prevails and ideological distance is relatively small, populist rhetoric caters to the needs and demands of very specific political cultures. Populism operates on the premise that the nation-state is the basic political unit, and its audience is therefore national, not global. Let us explore once more the notion of the deep state, and how it articulates a blanket legitimation strategy (pitting shadow unelected pullers of strings against pure democratic heroes) with national issues and angsts. In the USA, the deep state is a trope moulded in the crucible of the anti-Big Government narrative and of the Reaganian offensive on federal bureaucracies. One should recall that Reagan routinely evoked “bureaucratic sabotage” when faced with reticence from federal agencies[47]. And if Reagan liked to depict bureaucrats more like hapless fools rather than malefic geniuses, he still crafted an enduring dichotomy between the “good”, heroic State (police, military, elected representatives, etc.) and the “bad”, parasite State (bureaucrats churning out regulations in cramped offices) that still defines public attitudes and lends credibility to “deep state” conspiracy rhetoric. In France, the “government by judges” efficiently mobilizes a history of “plebeian” democracy dating back to the Jacobin tradition. Already in the late 18th century, Montesquieu (who was far more liberal and more wary of unchecked power than Jacobins) was challenging Locke on his emphasis on the judiciary, concluding that in a just political system the judiciary branch should be voided of all real political authority[48]. President Charles de Gaulle (still a role-model for politicians and one of the rare consensual political references of the post-war era) once famously stated: “The Supreme Court of the French nation, it’s the people[49]”, thus wording a widely shared deep hostility to any form of limitation imposed to popular sovereignty. “Government by judges” could thus be presented, in the light of this tradition of a uniquely French democratic ethos, as profoundly alien and threatening.

 What these examples highlight is the fact that in a globalized world, populist political entrepreneurs still need to tap into national myths in order to be credible and achieve any form of mobilizing efficiency. At a time when the symbolic apparatus is increasingly structured by global ideologies (such as the environmental crisis, globalization, free speech, gender or inequality), proclaiming populism to be a free-floating narrative, as universal as disenchantment with politics, is tempting. It would be however plain wrong. Populism skilfully utilizes successful universal catch-phrases, but infuses them with national subtext to appeal to a home audience whose correct emotional buttons they master. Trump knows American blue-collar electorate has been often socialized in a defiance of Big Government – his deep state discourse plays into this. French populists know how to exploit their public’s radical democratic convictions and the image of illustrious figures such as Charles de Gaulle.

 Developing a Taxonomy of Populism

The “categorize” debate has long been permeating populism scholarship. Most studies do not address populism per se, but specific types of populism: authoritarian, right-wing, conservative, agrarian, presidential, etc. Margaret Canovan even famously argued that, as populism is a concept too abstract to be efficiently defined, exploring its more empirical subcategories was the best strategy to make headway towards a complete understanding of the phenomenon[50]. Others, probably also suffering from acute “Cinderella Complex” fatigue, agreed. This led to a flourishing of “populism-with-adjectives” in scholarly and media literature.

 Canovan tried among the first to catalogue certain salient subtypes of populism, using a complex typology with seven compartments: revolutionary intellectual populism (the Russian narodnik movement), peasants populism (agrarian movements of the pre- and inter-war Eastern Europe, but also Zapatistas in Mexico), farmers’ populism (The People’s Party in the late 19th century United States), populist dictatorship (such as Peronism), populism democracy (in which the author pins Swiss direct democracy model), reactionary populism (Canovan cites under this label American segregationist George Wallace) and politicians’ populism (catch-all demagogy, relatively voided of ideological content)[51]. This model works excellently for historical populist experiences in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but proves less fruitful for understanding more recent mutations, mainly because agrarian populism went quasi-extinct after World War II. More recently, other scholars attempted binary approaches: left-wing vs right-wing, inclusionary vs exclusionary, authoritarian vs democratic[52]. The trouble with such dichotomies is that, ultimately, they are too general and do little to provide a more refined cartography of populism, especially if we zoom out of the national framework and embrace regional and global perspectives: indeed, left-wing and right-wing paradigms may well explain the opposition of Bernie Sanders’ and Donald Trump’s campaigns, but fail to capture the myriad ideological nuances between Trump and, say, Geert Wilders, who are both lumped under the same right-wing umbrella.

 We will attempt to advance an alternative taxonomy to map today’s populist landscape. A few methodological caveats are necessary before proceeding. A pertinent taxonomy of populism requires at least two things: first and foremost, a core definition of populism. We will rely on Mudde’s landmark 2004 study to forge a baseline definition: populism is an ideology that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups, the pure people versus the corrupt elite[53]. Secondly, each subtype of populism ought to include all characteristics of the concept of populism plus at least one additional feature[54]. Such a taxonomy also entails that populism is the primary, not the secondary, concept: parties and movements that exhibit sporadic “weak populism” features (for example Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche or UK’s Conservative Party) will not be reviewed. For manageability purposes, we will limit yourselves to major parties and movements, who display one of three conditions of political relevance: ideological agenda-setting potential, blackmail potential or governmental (and implicitly coalition) potential[55].

 We will also circumscribe our field of analysis to democratic and quasi-democratic contexts, leaving out countries that experienced democratic landslides so dramatic they no longer fulfil even basic criteria. Taking the EIU 2019 Democracy Index as a reference framework, we will only consider countries with scores higher than 6 and who are listed as “Full” or “Flawed” democracies: Turkey as “hybrid regime” and Russia as an “authoritarian regime” will thusly be excluded[56].

 Our taxonomy operates on two hierarchical levels. The first takes into consideration the placement on the left-right continuum. Placement on the left-wing spectrum is best defined by the propensity towards equality[57], and as such we will label left-wing those movements that, while exhibiting strong anti-elitist tendencies, fundamentally challenge any vertical segmentation of society (based on wealth, merit, education, etc.). In this category, one expects to find movements, like the now defunct Occupy Wall Street, La France Insoumise, Greece’s Syriza or Spain’s Podemos, and personalities like Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn. Left-wing populism is often an offshoot of socialism (in Cas Mudde’s terms, a thin ideology attached to the more robust host of socialism), aggregated around a reinvigorated leftist critique of social-liberalism and of the “Clinton-Blair-Macron” third-way philosophy[58]. On the contrary, right-wing populism is structured by the hierarchy between the “in-group” and the “outgroup”, usually conceptualized in ethical and cultural (ostensibly racial conceptualizations are rare, occurring only at the fringes, and often officially disavowed), rather than strictly economical terms. As such, it is profoundly inegalitarian, even when it dons the cape of workers’ saviours and of welfare-ism. Right-wing populist comprises parties like the Rassemblement National, the Brexit Party, PiS or Lega.

 We nevertheless try to eschew simplistic dichotomies by recognizing the autonomy of a political “centre” that fits neither the right nor the left paradigm. Centrist populism is a contested notion, but a valuable one to render the distinguishability of catch-all programmes such as the ones of The 5 Stars Movement (Italy) or of ANO 2011 (Czech Republic). Centrist populism is comfortable with themes such as anti-corruption, who dramatically substantiate the narrative of the otherness of political and business elites (the “little man” cannot be corrupt, as he lacks the material and symbolic resources to engage in such behaviour), but apart from that they are much less ideologically sure-footed. They often try to compensate for this by enacting a form of “stylistic” rather than “ideational” populism, best embodies by the theatrics of charismatic leaders like Beppe Grillo who claimed to represent “the barbarians who will lead the world forward[59]”, but whose party was conspicuously more restrained than Salvini’s Lega[60]. The crumbling of the Lega - 5 Stars Movement coalition government in Italy and the latter’s reorientation towards the centre-left PD[61] is a testament to the ideological balancing act that many centrist populists have to put on.

     The second level scrutinizes the morphology of populist discourse, in order to elaborate a model of issue salience and issue ownership specific to populism: which is the preferred overarching narrative? Which issues are prioritized by populist political entrepreneurs in their rhetoric? On which issues are they more credible?[62] The focus of our paper being the much more successful and variegated right-wing populism family, our taxonomy will try to offer a more refined cartography of this puzzling and rocky terrain. We identified three main subtypes:

 -       Conservative populism is the “default setting” of right-wing populism, especially in Southern and Eastern Europe. As an ideological configuration distinct both from conservatism and other subtypes of populism (see below), it exhibits a strong nationalist tropism and professes attachment to “traditional values” such as the normative family and religion. Intrinsically, it is characterized to a large extent by hostility towards progressive social agendas such as LGBTQ rights or feminism. “Progressive politics”, imported from morally bankrupt centres (urban agglomerations inhabited by global elites, the Western world, Brussels, etc.) are seen as inflicting irreparable damage to national life; national communities are often reimagined through narratives of exceptionalism, as “last frontiers” of Christianity in an age of moral decay. Consequently, conservative populism can use anti-colonial frames to mobilize supporters, attacking for example feminism and LGBTQ rights as “Ebola from Brussels” (to quote Polish conservative organisations)[63]. It can also be comfortably pro-business and share some conservative-liberal postulates, such as economic anti-interventionism. The archetypal model of conservative populism is Orban’s Fidesz and Poland’s PiS, who embedded the defence of “family values” into their political identities. The Romanian PSD also briefly fitted this paradigm, through its reliance on anti-colonial frames[64] and its support for conservative initiatives such as the 2018 Family Referendum[65]. Outside of Europe, the Tea Party (now largely digested into Trumpism), with its blend of polarizing evangelical rhetoric and economic libertarianism, articulated a formula similar to the one of conservative populism.

-       Social nativism is a complex umbrella term, coined by economist Thomas Piketty in Capital et Idéologie[66]. Bent Greve christened “welfare chauvinism” the rise of increasingly nativist frames of welfare deservingness in countries with strong social-democrat traditions, such as Nordic countries[67]. Welfare populism is the translation of a cultural debate (and largely of indigenous cultural angsts) in economic language, more specifically in the economic language of the left. Contrary to left-wing populism, it remains highly exclusionary towards ethnically defined outgroups. An offshoot of welfare chauvinism is what French sociologist Gael Brustier coined “security hedonism”, where antipathy for outgroups is motivated by the defence of a cultural and economic model based, paradoxically, on tolerance, individuality, liberty and prosperity. The “otherness” of Islam as a cultural block is brought forth by this revitalized commitment to humanistic values such as LGBTQ rights, feminism, secularism, freedom of expression (particularly freedom to publicly criticize and mock religion), within an argumentative strategy that incorporates such values into a new definition of nationalism and citizenship. In a country like the Netherlands, proud to have adopted the world’s first marriage equality law and be one of the most sexually open in the world, populists like Pym Fortuyn and later Geert Wilders (leader of the Party for Freedom) successfully deployed a rigid dichotomy between “backwards” and “intolerant” Islamic ultra-conservatism and “progressive” and “tolerant” indigenous Dutch identity[68]. In France, fiery polemics around the relationship between Islam and feminism, secularism or the freedom of speech (a fraught subject in the wake of the 2015 murder of popular Charlie Hebdo cartoonists for mocking Islam in a series of drawing judged “blasphemous”) allowed Marine le Pen to anchor the Rassemblement National’ imaginary into resolutely progressive territory[69]. Social nativism (whether we consider the more economic-centred vision of “welfare chauvinism” or the culture-centred approach of “security hedonism”) shows how new ideological spaces, hitherto unexplored, are increasingly becoming available to right-wing populist imaginaries. As such, it is a relevant development of the last decades that might durably alter traditional taxonomies of populism.

-       We christened the last paradigmatic subtype “securitarian populism”, to emphasize that its ideological nucleus is to be found in repressive security solutions. Its more radical embodiments are to be found outside of Europe, in places where criminality is high (mainly due to drugs, poverty and ghettoization) and the political culture is often desensitized to violence and human rights abuses: Bolsonaro’s (elected president of Brazil in 2018) and Duterte’s (president of the Philippines since 2016) incendiary rhetoric against drug dealers and gangs[70] can be seen through this lens. Securitarian populism is fuelled by a perception of state failure and of creeping insecurity affecting lower and middle classes. Its promised “mano-dura” policing and its hyper-macho posturing[71] has a cross-class appeal. Security populists have understood the most powerful story is be a nightmare with a hero: bed men are menacing your country, but I am here to save you. In Europe, too, diluted forms surfaced: the Rassemblement National have long derided governmental leniency in the infamous crime-ridden “banlieues” (impoverished peri-urban suburbs)[72], and UKIP threw all its ideological weight into the tense conversation on the knife crime surge in London[73]. Nevertheless, as long as a relatively functional state can rein in the most extreme forms of violence, in Europe and Northern America populism often just straddle the line without fully engaging with hard securitarianism.

-       Apart from the three canonical types, we identify two awkward outliers, that we lumped together under the – admittedly imperfect – label of Anglo-Saxon populism. The First is Trumpism, which remains a remarkably complex ideological object to grasp. If Trump became shorthand for populism, it is certainly because his brand of politics draws on multiple broad narratives and fuses them into an original and potent synthesis. Donald Trump is equally comfortable with the language of moral conservatism (garnering support from Evangelicals[74] with claims to be the “most fearlessly pro-life president in American history[75]”), of securitarian intransigence[76], or of “liberal conservatism” (becoming a champion of anti-political correctness and free speech right-wing advocates[77]), while also at occasions engaging in the rhetoric of defence of gay minorities and women against  the “barbaric” Others at the gates[78]. Trump is a populism chameleon, which makes him hard to classify and label. But the reason we eschew including him into one of the above three paradigms (conservative, social nativism, securitarian) is that Trumpism has a very different rapport with the mainstream right than all other populist entrepreneurs. While most radical right populist movements developed and matured outside traditional right-wing parties, sometimes in direct opposition to them, Trump manufactured a synthesis whose aim was to take over and revitalize the Republican establishment, not destroy it. Trumpism is embedded into Republicanism, and cannot be separated from this frame. It wasn’t always like that: Trumpism is not a monolithic bloc, and has to be reviewed diachronically. Trumpism was at the beginning markedly more centrist (for example, Trump was gleefully lambasting the likes of Pat Buchanon in the early 2000, mocking the “staunch right wacko vote” they hoped to garner[79]), before sharpening its blue-collar, plebeian anti-systemic edge in the 2016 campaign and eventually, after his election, veering towards cultural conservatism in the crucible of orthodox Republicanism.

The second one is the British anti-elitism Euroscepticism of Nigel Farage. Farage is the jutting prow of what, in the 1990s and early 2000s, seemed a minor Conservative insurgency. Member of the Conservative Party since 1978, he left the Party in 1992. Many of the senior figures of UKIP, such as Paul Nuttal, Douglas Carswell or Mark Reckless, were also disenchanted conservatives, admirers of Margaret Thatcher who felt their old party was becoming a sluggish, politically correct mammoth unable to channel radical change any more. Contrary to a widely-held misconception, UKIP and Farage were not offshoots of the neo-fascist tradition, who was then embodied by the British National Front (BNP). Tellingly, in his seminal 2007 volume, Cas Mudde doesn’t include UKIP in the Populist Radical Right (PRR) family with the BNP[80]. Roger Griffin very similarly argued that UKIP cannot be said to compete in the same ideological league as the openly racist and authoritarian BNP, despite being perplexed by manifesto statements about immigration which “would not be out of place” in continental neo-populist parties[81]. The scholarly consensus prior to 2015 was that UKIP was a “non-extreme”, right-leaning, single-issue party aggregated around a limited political objective: exit from the European Union. The success of the party after 2014 and the demise of the BNP ushered in a new era, in which Farage’s UKIP (and later the Brexit Party) were able to fuse multiple distinct traditions and break into the mainstream. It exploited a formula that was hardly original and innovative: on the one hand mounting anti-immigration and anti-globalization sentiments, and on the other hand the widening gulf between New Labour and its blue-collar electoral base in rural and peri-urban England[82]. What is unique, however, is the subordination of all his rhetoric to a unique, monolithic master-narrative: Great Britain must leave the EU. Euroscepticism was not an innovative idea. It infused British political culture, and by the 2000s it was already embedded into mainstream Conservatism[83]. Farage’s own definition of Euroscepticism - a “wish to be free of the bureaucratic, anti-democratic, supranational structures based in Brussels[84]” – echoes the neo-thatcherian tropes of Conservative opponents to the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties. What is original, though, is how Farage was able to fuse anti-EU rhetoric and anti-elite resentment, transforming in a few years his party into an ideological (albeit not electoral) powerhouse whose crowning achievement, the Brexit vote, changed durably the European political landscape. The EU efficiently morphed into shorthand for arrogant and disconnected elites; but the reverse is also true. British anti-elitist Euroscepticism is a unique strand of thought, meshing together the dangling threads of neo-thatcherite conservatism, hard right nativism (orphaned after the disappearance of the BNP) and Labour’s blue-collar alienation.

      Our readers can find the summary of this analysis and a visual mapping of our taxonomic categories in the table below:

Categorization of populist ideologies

  Conclusions

We all like to give decades nicknames. The “decades-with-adjectives” is certainly an enjoyable branding game, albeit ultimately rather trivial. Tying one arbitrary ten-years span to an overarching narrative is not very conducive to a perfectly nuanced and refined understanding of social phenomena. But after all, human thought trades in the currency of stereotypes, catch-phrases and jingles, so such habit should not come as a surprise.

 We had the “roaring” Twenties, the “turbulent” Thirties, the “fighting” Forties, the “fabulous” Fifties, the “swinging” (or “psychedelic”) Sixties, the “disco” Seventies, the “greedy” Eighties. Things got murkier after the Nineties: the “naughty” Nineties (the "noughties") gained some traction in pop culture, however for less fortunate political-minded folks, the main “naughtiness” was indulging into the brazen optimism of imagining we had reached a liberal end of History. The 2000s are even more elusive. Historic Neil Ferguson christened them the “boom-and-bust” decade[85]. It was, with 9/11 and the 2008 financial wipe-out, the painful return of History so unceremoniously fired previously. For the Times Magazine, it was the “decade from Hell[86]”. The famous magazine did promise, though, the next one will be better …. Well, was it?

 The 2010s were marked by two main, thumping headlines: the vote to leave the European Union of the British People in June 2016 and the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th of the United States of America in November of the same year. Should we call the 2010s the “Trumpy” or the “Brexity” 2010s, as Neil Ferguson jokingly suggested? Other looming, slow-burning issues of the 2010s will most certainly outlive the legacies of these two events: the incredible surge of artificial intelligence, the rise of social media, the mounting sense of environmental emergency are likely to shape more durably the world future generations will inhabit. However, is was populist fear and fury that cadenced the daily rhythms of political reality in the last decade. Populism felt, for better or worse, visceral and immediate, and few of us could eschew reflecting on the cultural and political questions Trump, Brexit, Marine le Pen or Orban thrusted upon our societies. The Zeitgeist was indelibly imprinted by a pervading sense of crisis and alienation of large swathes of citizens who felt “invisible”. Addressing head-on the underlying dynamics driving global populism is both an intellectual and civic endeavour whose urgency has never been greater, unless we want once more to be mere dazed onlookers of the second round of the culture war.

 

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[1]Ian Crouch, So Are We Living in 1984, The New Yorker, 11 June 2013, https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/so-are-we-living-in-1984

[2]George Orwell’s 1984 is Suddenly a Best-seller, The New York Times, 25 January 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/books/1984-george-orwell-donald-trump.html

[4]Handmaid's Sales: Margaret Atwood's The Testaments is Immediate Hit, The Guardian, 17 September 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/sep/17/handmaids-sales-margaret-atwoods-the-testaments-is-immediate-hit

[5]Box Office: Joker Close To Becoming DC’s Second-Biggest Film, Forbes, 28 January 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbean/2020/01/28/box-office-joker-close-to-becoming-dcs-2nd-biggest-film/#353e457a34ba

[6]See for example Glenn Greenwald, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, Metropolitan Books, New York, 2014

[7]See for example Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, Profile Books, London, 2019

[8]See for example Zack Breslin, The Handmaid’s Tale: A Timely Warning, Medium, 7 August 2019, https://medium.com/@zackbreslin/the-handmaids-tale-a-timely-warning-dddfe302ca5

[9]See for example L’utopie du ‘Meilleur des Mondes’, modèle de la médecine traditionnelle?, Génétique, 3 December 2014, http://www.genethique.org/fr/lutopie-du-meilleur-des-mondes-modele-de-la-medecine-contemporaine-62551.html

[10]See on this topic Wayne Batchis, The Right’s First Amendment: The politics of Free Speech and the Return of Conservative Libertarianism, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 2016

[11]See for example Lauren D. Spohn, Big Brother’s PC Culture, The Harvard Crimson, 11 August 2017, https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2017/8/11/spohn-big-brother-pc/; John Reed, Political Correctness is Newspeak, John T. Reed Blog, 25 November 2016, https://johntreed.com/blogs/john-t-reed-s-news-blog/political-correctness-is-newspeak; Joshua Philip, Thoughtcrime Is Becoming a Reality”, The Epoch Times, 19 May 2019, https://www.theepochtimes.com/thoughtcrime-is-becoming-a-reality_2928582.html; Myron Magnet, Hate Crime is Only a Step Away from Thoughtcrime, Wall Street Journal, 1 January 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hate-crime-is-only-a-step-away-from-thoughtcrime-11577905525; Victor Davis Hanson, We are living Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, National Review, 25 September 2018, https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/09/kavanaugh-nomination-battle-like-orwells-1984/; Mathieu Bock-Côté, George Orwell, auteur pour notre temps, Figaro Vox, 14 June 2019, https://www.lefigaro.fr/vox/societe/mathieu-bock-cote-george-orwell-auteur-pour-notre-temps-20190614; Andrei Dîrlău, Huxley + Orwell = Lunacek. Corectitudinea Politică – metastază a Marxismului Cultural, Cultura Vieții, 16 May 2014, http://www.culturavietii.ro/2014/04/16/huxley-orwell-lunacek-ii-corectitudinea-politica/

[12]See Cass Sunstein, 1984 Comes to 2019, Bloomberg, 18 July 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-07-18/trump-s-2019-and-orwell-s-1984-have-too-much-in-common; Laurent Joffrin, Trump, Johnson et Orwell, Libération, 18 December 2019, https://www.liberation.fr/politiques/2019/12/18/trump-johnson-et-orwell_1770000

[13]Laurent Joffrin, Trump, Johnson et Orwell, Libération, 18 December 2019, https://www.liberation.fr/politiques/2019/12/18/trump-johnson-et-orwell_1770000

[14]Jean-Pierre Rioux, Les populismes, Tempus Perrin, Paris, 2007

[15]Alexandre Dorna, Avant-propos: Le populisme, une notion peuplée d’histoires particulières en quête d’un paradigme fédérateur, Amnis. Revue d’étude des sociétés et cultures contemporaines Europe/Amérique, no. 5 (2005)

[16]Isaiah Berlin, To Define Populism, Government and Opposition, vol. 3, no. 2 (Spring 1968)

[17]Cas Mudde, The Populist Zeitgeist, Government and Opposition, vol. 39, no. 4 (Spring 2004)

[18]See Kurt Weyland, Neoliberal Populism in Latin America and Eastern Europe, Comparative Politics, vol. 31, no. 4, 1999

[19]See for example Fabio Bordignon, In And Out: Emmanuel Macron’s Anti-Populist Populism”, Europp - London School of Economics and Political Science, 28 April 2017, https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2017/04/28/macron-anti-populist-populism/#Author“; Macron: the Anti-establishment Centrist, Harvard Political Review, 6 May 2017, https://harvardpolitics.com/hprgument-posts/51589/; Emmanuel Macron accepte d’être qualifié de candidat populiste, Le Monde, 19 march 2017, https://www.lemonde.fr/election-presidentielle-2017/article/2017/03/19/emmanuel-macron-accepte-d-etre-compare-a-un-candidat-populiste_5097038_4854003.html

[20]See Gilles Ivaldi, A New Course for the French Radical-Right? The Front National and De-Demonization, in Tjitske Akkerman, Sarah L. de Lange, Matthijs Rooduijn. Radical Right-Wing Populist Parties in Western Europe. Into the Mainstream?, Routledge, London, 2016

[21]See Emily Schultheis, How Hungary’s Far-Right Extremists Became Warm and Fuzzy, Foreign Policy, 6 April 2018, https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/04/06/how-hungarys-far-right-extremists-became-warm-and-fuzzy/

[22]See Augmentation des actes antisémites : une conséquence directe de l’immigration incontrôlée et du communautarisme, Rassemblement National, 12 September 2014, https://rassemblementnational.fr/communiques/augmentation-des-actes-antisemites-une-consequence-directe-de-limmigration-incontrolee-et-du-communautarisme/

[23]Gael Brustier, Le désordre idéologique, Les Editions du Cerf, Paris, 2017

[24]Roger Brubaker, Between Nationalism and Civilizationism: the European Populist Moment in Comparative Perspective”, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Volume 40, Issue 8, 2017

[25]See Lise Esther Herman and James Muldoon (ed.), Trumping the Mainstream, Taylor & Francis Group, London, 2018

[26]Jakob Schworer, Populistization of Mainstream Parties? Evidence for Populist Contagion in Italy, Working paper for the ECPR General Conference in Hamburg 2018, retrieved from https://ecpr.eu/Filestore/PaperProposal/b671722d-ac0d-4159-95f9-636de93f63a1.pdf

[27]On the notion of “common sense” within the framework of ideological discourse, see notably Norman Fairclough, Critical and descriptive goals in discourse analysis, Journal of Pragmatism, Volume 9, Issue 6, December 1985

[28]The notion of precariat, proposed by British economist Guy Standing, encompasses a broad range of social and economic statuses, all characterized by instability, insecurity and downward social mobility. See Guy Standing, The Precariat and Class Struggle, RCCS Annual Review, issue 7, 2015

[29]See Roger Brubaker, op. cit.

[30]See Maximilian Hohenstedt, Welfare Chauvinism in Radical Right-Wing Populist Parties. The Reframing of the Sverigedemokraterna as True Social Democrats, Grin Verlag, Berlin, 2018

[31] See for example Gilles Ivaldi, The Successful Welfare-Chauvinist Party? The Front National in the 2012 Elections in France, ESA's Research Network on Political Sociology (RN32) Mid-term conference, European Sociological Association (ESA), November 2012, Milano, Italy.

[32]For an in-depth exploration of the notion of ideoscape in the context of a globalized word, see Arjun Appadurai, Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy, Theory Culture Society, 1990, issue 7

[33]See Count on Trump to Defend Free Speech from Global Censorship, The Hill, 2 September 2019, https://thehill.com/opinion/international/459647-count-on-trump-to-defend-free-speech-from-global-censorship

[34]See Trump’s Campus Free Speech Executive Order Protects all Students – it's Intellectual Freedom vs Social Tyranny, Fox News, 21 March 2019

[35] Washington Post, “President Trump speaks at CPAC 2019”, YouTube, 2 March 2019 (live stream on 2 March 2019), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_PT6fZtslo

[36]Marine le Pen, Marine le Pen défend la liberté d'expression sur internet!, Facebook, 23 January 2020, https://www.facebook.com/MarineLePen/videos/1210913002446328/?v=1210913002446328

[37]Ibidem

[38]Alain Soral, who has been repeatedly convicted for hate speech, routinely proclaims “the end of freedom is speech” and bemoans France being rating 48th in press freedom. See ERTV Officiel, Alain Soral: la fin de la liberté d’expression, YouTube, 20 September 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tveKyomCGI

[39]See John Finn, Fracturing the Founding: How the Alt-Right Corrupts the Constitution, Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, 2019

[40]See Arto Sillanpää, The "Underdog" versus the Shadowy Power Bloc: An Epistemic Governance Approach to the Right-Wing Populist Discourse Around the "Deep State" (Master dissertation, Tempere University, 2019), retrieved 11 February 2020 from https://trepo.tuni.fi//handle/10024/116210

[41]@MLP_officiel, Il ne peut pas y avoir un gouvernement des juges qui tue un parti politique! Et l'exécutif ne peut pas avoir connaissance des activités de l'opposition, Twitter, 17 October 2018, 9:39 AM, https://twitter.com/MLP_officiel/status/1052448697466937344

[42]See for example Face à l’Info, CNews, aired 29 October 2019, retrieved 11 February 2010 from https://www.cnews.fr/emission/2019-10-29/face-linfo-du-29102019-894083

[43]En Grande-Bretagne, les eurosceptiques de l'UKIP refusent l'alliance avec le FN, Le Monde, 21 April 2019, https://www.lemonde.fr/europeennes-2014/article/2014/04/21/elections-europeennes-le-ukip-britannique-dit-non-au-front-national_4404801_4350146.html

[44]Le Pen, Wilders Fail to Put Together Far-Right Group in European Parliament”, Euronews, 24 June 2014, https://www.euronews.com/2014/06/24/le-pen-wilders-fail-to-put-together-far-right-group-in-european-parliament

[45]See 2019 European Election Results”, European Parliament, 23 October 2019, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/election-results-2019/en/sweden/

[46]Extrême-droite: le Jobbik hongrois qualifie le FN de parti sioniste, Le Monde, 26 June 2014, https://www.lemonde.fr/europeennes-2014/article/2014/06/26/rififi-a-l-extreme-droite-europeenne_4446210_4350146.html

[47]Reagan Beats no Retreat in the War on Bureaucracy, The New York Times, 21 October 1981, https://www.nytimes.com/1981/10/12/us/reagan-beats-no-retreat-in-war-on-bureaucracy.html

[48]See Séparation des pouvoirs et gouvernement des juges, Cercle des Européens, 17 June 2011, http://www.ceuropeens.org/article/separation-des-pouvoirs-et-gouvernement-des-juges

[49]Charles de Gaulle, Discours et Messages, Plon, Paris, 1970

[50]Margaret Canovan, Populism, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1981

[51]Ibidem

[52]See Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggart, Paulina Ochoa Espejo and Pierre Ostiguy, The Oxford Handbook of Populism, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2017

[53]Cas Mudde, op. cit.

[54]Ibidem

[55]Our choice of criteria draws heavily on Giovanni’s Sartori model, which has nevertheless twofold: blackmail and coalition/governmental potential. We added a third dimension, the capacity to mold and veer the national ideological conversation, which is coherent with our emphasis on ideology rather than structures and organizations. See Giovanni Sartori, Parties and Party Systems: A Framework for Analysis, vol. 1, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1976

[56]The Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index, The Economic Intelligence Unit, https://infographics.economist.com/2019/DemocracyIndex/

[57]See for example Norberto Bobbio, Left and Right. The Significance of a Political Distinction, Wiley, London, 1996

[58]Chantal Mouffe made a similar argument, claiming that the fact that left and right-wing parties coalesced around the center of the center ushered an era of post-democracy and managerial politics. See Chantal Mouffe, Pour un populisme de gauche, Albin Michel, Paris, 2018

[59]Wall Street Journal, Italy's Beppe Grillo Celebrates Trump-Style Populism, YouTube, 30 November 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCiaGG-QHsY

[60]They're Taking Italians for a Ride: Five Star Movement Stalls League's Anti-migrant Decree, The Local Italy, 20 May 2019, https://www.thelocal.it/20190520/five-star-movement-league-matteo-salvini-anti-migrant-decree

[61]Italy’s Government Crisis Comes to the Boil, Euractiv, 20 August 2019, https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/italys-government-crisis-comes-to-the-boil/

[62]For a conceptualization of the notions of issue salience and issue ownership, see John R. Petrocik,

Issue ownership in presidential elections, with a 1980 case study, American Journal of Political Science, 40 (1996) and Éric Bélangera & Bonnie M. Méguid, Issue Salience, Issue Ownership, and Issue-Based Vote Choice, Electoral Studies, Vol. 27, Issue 3, September 2008

[63]Elżbieta Korolczuk and Agnieszka Graff, Gender as “Ebola from Brussels”: The Anticolonial Frame and the Rise of Illiberal Populism, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol. 43, no. 4 (Summer 2018)

[64]See Deputatul PSD Liviu Pleșoianu: România este O COLONIE ÎN DEVĂLMĂȘIE. Sunt atât de multe felii de țară cu care se servesc nestingheriți atât de mulți stăpâni, încât e deja destul de complicat să mai ripostezi, Active News, 8 May 2017, https://www.activenews.ro/stiri/Deputatul-PSD-Liviu-Plesoianu-Romania-este-O-COLONIE-IN-DEVALMASIE.-Sunt-atat-de-multe-felii-de-tara-cu-care-se-servesc-nestingheriti-atat-de-multi-stapani-incat-e-deja-destul-de-complicat-sa-mai-ripostezi-143113

[65]Liviu Dragnea: Mulți se tem de legalizarea căsătoriei între un om și un animal, ca în alte țări, Digi 24, 30 September 2018, https://www.digi24.ro/referendum-familie-2018/liviu-dragnea-isi-explica-pozitia-fata-de-referendum-si-anunta-ce-va-face-dupa-aceea-psd-1005670

[66]Thomas Piketty, Capital et Idéologie, Seuil, Paris, 2019

[67]Bent Greve (ed.), Welfare, Populism and Welfare Chauvinism, Policy Press, Bristol, 2019

[68]Koen Damhuis, The Biggest Problem in the Netherlands: Understanding the Party for Freedom’s Politicization of Islam, Brookings, 24 July 2019, https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-biggest-problem-in-the-netherlands-understanding-the-party-for-freedoms-politicization-of-islam/

[69]See for example Dimitri Almeida, Exclusionary Secularism: The Front National and the Reinvention of Laïcité, Modern and Contemporary France, Vol. 5, Issue 3, 2017

[70]See Rodrigo Duterte's drug war is 'large-scale murdering enterprise' says Amnesty, The Guardian, 8 July 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/08/rodrigo-dutertes-drug-war-is-large-scale-murdering-enterprise-says-amnesty; Another Fire is Raging in Brazil — in Rio’s Favelas, The Washington Post, 6 September 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/09/06/another-fire-is-raging-brazil-rios-favelas/

[71]See Rebecka Eriksdotter Pieder, It’s A Man’s World: The Worrying Trend of Hyper-Masculinity in World Leaders, The McGill International Review, 13 November 2018, https://www.mironline.ca/its-a-mans-world-the-worrying-trend-of-hyper-masculinity-in-world-leaders/

[72]See Émeutes à répétition dans les banlieues: c'est pas cher, c’est la politique de la ville qui paye! [communiqué de presse], Rassemblement National, 3 November 2019, https://rassemblementnational.fr/communiques/emeutes-a-repetition-dans-les-banlieues-cest-pas-cher-cest-la-politique-de-la-ville-qui-paye/

[73]UK Independence Party, Sadiq’s London – Violent Crime Goes Through the Roof, Facebook, 3 January 2018, https://www.facebook.com/UKIP/posts/sadiqs-london-violent-crime-goes-through-the-roofhttpwwwukiporgsadiq_s_london_vi/1694784200543463/

[74]President Launches Evangelicals For Trump' Coalition, NPR, 5 January 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/01/05/793827578/president-launches-evangelicals-for-trump-coalition?t=1582022650755

[75]President Donald J. Trump Is Devoted to Protecting American Freedoms and Promoting American Values, The White House, 4 February 2020, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-is-devoted-to-protecting-american-freedoms-and-promoting-american-values/

[76]Associated Press, Trump says big crackdown coming on crime, drugs, YouTube, 28 October 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0Q0kiBi1vg

[77]See for example Lucian Gideon Conway III, Shannon C. Houck & Meredith Repke, Donald Trump as a Cultural Revolt Against Perceived Communication Restriction: Priming Political Correctness Norms Causes More Trump Support, Journal of Social and Political Psychology, Vol. 5, Issue 1, May 2017

[78]Trump Administration Launches Global Effort to End Criminalization of Homosexuality”, NBC News, 19 February 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/trump-administration-launches-global-effort-end-criminalization-homosexuality-n973081

[79]Steve Kornacki, When Trump Ran Against Trump-ism: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism in America, NBC News, 2nd of October 2018, retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/when-trump-ran-against-trump-ism-story-2000-election-ncna915651

[80]Cas Mudde, Populist Radial Right in Europe, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007

[81]Roger Griffin, Non Angeli, sed Angli: The neo-populist foreign policy of the ‘new’ BNP, in Christina Schori Liang (ed.), Europe for the Europeans: The Foreign Policy and the Populist Radical Right, Ashgate, Publishing, Farnham, 2007

[82]See Matthiew Goodwin and Caitlin Milazzo, UKIP: Inside the Campaign to Redraw the Map of British Politics, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015

[83]See Denis McShane, Brexit: How Britain Left Europe, I.B. Tauris, London, 2016

[85]Asia Society, Historian Niall Ferguson on the State of the World in 2020 - and Beyond”, YouTube, 21 January 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FJPpLplwhk

[86]Andy Serwer, The '00s: Goodbye (at last) to the Decade from Hell, Time Magazine, December 2009, Vol. 174, no. 22