The recent rise of vocal populism in the West has unsettled some of the world’s most stable liberal democracies. On both sides of the political spectrum, movements claiming to speak directly for the people have challenged the legitimacy of “rule by elites.” In some cases, populist voters have rallied around strong leaders whose support for open democracy is unclear. In the European context, populism has taken the form of nationalist protest against the European Union, often linked to hostility to immigrants and globalization. In Britain, populist nationalism carried Brexit to an upset victory. In France, the far-right National Front party is beginning to shape mainstream political discourse. In Germany, support for Alternative for Germany, a party on the far right of the political mainstream, ranges from 15 to 24 percent regionally. The recent U.S. presidential election saw a popular revolt against globalism that combined anti-immigrant rhetoric with a critique of Washington and Wall Street.
This panel of Rice faculty members examined the recent rise of populist movements in constitutional democracies. What caused them? Why now?
The event was co-sponsored by the Baker Institute and Rice University’s Politics, Law & Social Thought Program.
Join the conversation online with #BakerPolitics.
Watch a video of the event:
Peter C. Caldwell, Ph.D.
Samuel G. McCann Professor of History, and Co-Director, Politics, Law & Social Thought Program, Rice University
Christian J. Emden, Ph.D.
Professor, German Intellectual History and Political Thought, and Co-Director, Politics, Law & Social Thought Program, Rice University
Julie Fette, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, French Studies, Rice University, and Rice Faculty Scholar, Baker Institute
Mark P. Jones, Ph.D.
Fellow in Political Science, Baker Institute