Poland’s ‘populistainment’: Spectators at the dismantling of democracy


The political and ideological project being implemented by Poland’s populist governing party, Law and Justice (PiS), has a long way to run. The re-election of the party’s candidate Andrzej Duda to the presidency last month has merely ushered in a new chapter and it will be even more demanding for liberals than what went before, say Kultura Liberalna analysts  and .

A recent statement by Duda should be taken seriously as a sign of our political times. Moreover, this is where Poland usefully illustrates a broader global phenomenon that we could call “populistainment”, they write for The Guardian:

If democratic politicians in the past used entertainment to warm up their image and appear more human to better to sell their ideas, populistainment turns that on its head. In the populist playbook, entertainment eclipses ideology and such traditional political activity as building party structures. ….The PiS strategy in Poland is a classic example. Whether raising alarm by claiming that the opposition will remove child support or by scapegoating LGBT people, Germans or Jews, the PiS has since 2015 ensured it commands public attention at all times. The party strategy is twofold: first leap forward by attacking someone, then leap back and a call for responsibility and community.

Duda recently did exactly this: after attacking LGBT people, he called for tolerance just days later, add and authors of a recent analysis in the NED’s Journal of Democracy.

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