The election of 2016 brought about the use of the term populism….it has been around for many many years but not used so much by the media when reporting on an election…..and the 2016 arrived and not knowing exactly what to do about the whole popularity of Trump and Sanders….viola the term “populism” found a new home……
Populists abhor restraints on the political executive. Since they claim to represent “the people” writ large, they regard limits on their exercise of power as necessarily undermining the popular will. Such constraints can only serve the “enemies of the people” – minorities and foreigners (for right-wing populists) or financial elites (in the case of left-wing populists).
This is a dangerous approach to politics, because it allows a majority to ride roughshod over the rights of minorities. Without separation of powers, an independent judiciary, or free media – which all populist autocrats, from Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Viktor Orbán and Donald Trump detest – democracy degenerates into the tyranny of whoever happens to be in power.
Periodic elections under populist rule become a smokescreen. In the absence of the rule of law and basic civil liberties, populist regimes can prolong their rule by manipulating the media and the judiciary at will.
Populism is a dangerous thing….the whole “voice of the people” is good cover but a dangerous trend in a democratic country.