Pub Date 2 Nov 2017
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'This lucid guide is essential reading' Guardian
From Donald Trump to Recep Erdogan, populists are on the rise across the globe. But what exactly is populism?
Should everyone who criticizes Wall Street or Washington be called a populist? What precisely is the difference between right-wing and left-wing populism? Does populism bring government closer to the people or is it a threat to democracy? Who are "the people" anyway and who can speak in their name? These questions have never been more pressing.
In this provocative book, Jan-Werner Müller argues that at populism's core is a rejection of pluralism. Populists will always claim that they and they alone represent the people and their true interests. Contrary to conventional wisdom, populists can govern on the basis of their claim to exclusive moral representation of the people: if populists have enough power, they will end up creating an authoritarian state that excludes all those not considered part of the proper "people". Proposing a number of concrete strategies for how liberal democrats should best deal with populists, Müller shows how to counter their claims to speak exclusively for "the silent majority".
*Updated with a new afterword*
‘In this essential book, Müller defines populism's most salient characteristics and explains Trump and other populists through that framework. It is a quick read, and worth every page’
- Washington Post
‘There is no better guide to the populist passions of the present’
- Ivan Krastev, author of After Europe