Populism has been making a comeback, especially in Europe, for more than a quarter-century, and primarily on the right, said Matthew Goodwin, a political scientist at the London-based Chatham House think tank.
It led to the election in the late 1990s and again in every race since 2010 of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, on a virulently anti-immigrant platform and what he calls “illiberal democracy” that includes cracking down on a free press. It drove the so-called Brexit referendum in 2016, when British voters approved their country’s withdrawal from the European Union.
And it has bolstered the far right in France, Poland and Italy, where Europe’s first fully populist post-World War II government is taking seat.
Even in a country with as strong and established a democracy as the United States, populism fueled by economic anxiety was in part the wave on which Trump rode to victory.
“It is hard to conclude that it will disappear anytime soon,” said Goodwin, author of the forthcoming “National Populism: The Revolt against Liberal Democracy.” “We are in a new period of political volatility.”