Menu lock


Jan 11, 2017

It’s hard out there for a populist: Italy’s comedian-led political party struggles to find its feet

Populist parties love to represent themselves as rule-breaking mavericks. But wherever they win office, they find themselves invariably having to work with established actors in order to get anything done.

We recommend

From around the web

Powered by Taboola


Leave a comment

2 thoughts on “It’s hard out there for a populist: Italy’s comedian-led political party struggles to find its feet

  1. Will

    This article implies that we need not be too concerned about populists, because in fairly short order they will be “evicted by voters”. This is a dangerously mistaken view. It is defensible only where populist forces are on the margins of power, such as here in Australia (currently). However, where populist forces get to the centre of power, such as today in America, Russia, Hungary, the Phillipines, etc, everything changes, because the animating imperative of populism is to curtail democracy. Why? Because populism simply blames the political system for society’s crippling failures, and offers to cripple the political system in remedy.
    This internal logic of populism may (as with fascists) or may not be consciously appreciated by populist leaders and their followers, but gutting democratic institutions – beginning with electoral systems, but expanding invariably to civil and political rights, public services, press freedoms, judicial independence, etc – is its reason for existing.
    Hence, we see that when populists can manufacture or exploit a state of “national emergency” frightened publics often readily cede democratic rights and institutions, sometimes even the ability to “evict” their populist leaders. But even in less calamitous conditions (such as in America today) the first order of business for populist leaders will be to disenfranchise their political opponents, not merely to impede their eviction from power, but to effect a permanent regressive transformation of the political system. With real power they are anything but hapless fools simply awaiting eviction by voters.

    1. klewso

      They might not last, the trouble is the damage they can inflict in the time they’re there.