Washington, DC — Cliff Young, President of Ipsos US Public Affairs, recently published an article in the SAIS Review of International Affairs. The Resurgence and Spread of Populism explores the concept of populism, including what conditions make it possible.
The concept of populism has been used to define many political and economic phenomena without precision. This paper presents an analytical synthesis that in our view helps to understand populism in a generalizable way. We define populism as a political strategy aimed to achieve power. Drawing inductively from historical case studies, secondary literature and multinational public opinion surveys, we identify three distinct conditions necessary for a populist episode to occur: a) a political entrepreneur, b) an opportunity structure, and c) favorable public appeal. We further elaborate on these three conditions in this paper. We then examine our model in respect to specific historical and prospective cases.
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