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Publisher's Summary

Donald Trump, Silvio Berlusconi, Marine Le Pen, Hugo Chávez - 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 groundbreaking volume, 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. Müller also shows that, 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." The book proposes a number of concrete strategies for how liberal democrats should best deal with populists and, in particular, how to counter their claims to speak exclusively for "the silent majority" or "the real people."
Analytical, accessible, and provocative, What Is Populism? is grounded in history and draws on examples from Latin America, Europe, and the United States to define the characteristics of populism and the deeper causes of its electoral successes in our time.
©2016 Jan-Werner Müller (P)2017 Post Hypnotic Press, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Caroline Pufalt on 06-24-17

Timely

Timely, concise and clear. Elements of populism can be found in many political movements. But as the author shows, put them all together and the results can be tragic and a threat to democracy. Well written and a good narrator

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Ben on 04-25-18

finally makes sense of authoritarian behaviour

from Rich to poor countries, from the left and the right, populists are attacking democracy. Muller provides a framework that makes it all comprehensible,and a path to countering this dangerous trend.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars
By Panji on 10-30-17

Excellent Introduction to Populism

While the term 'populist' doesn't have a proper definition yet in academia Muller still provides insight on populism by sharing characteristics that are shared by populist movements around the world. He talks about the leaders, the political system, the populist voter base, and more to give the reader a good introduction as to why populists rise and why people vote for them. It's a balanced book that also points to faults at the modern democracy and gives suggestions as to how to prevent populism.

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