What’s driving authoritarian populism?


There’s no shortage of hand-wringing about the current state of liberal democracy. The Center for American Progress and the American Enterprise Institute, two influential Washington think tanks with opposing politics, are trying to figure out how to turn the tide, the Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor  writes:

With two joint reports published Thursday, the organizations launched a project aimed at “defending liberal democracy” in “an era of rising authoritarianism.” It’s a mark of the widely felt alarm in the U.S. capital that both organizations have shelved their differences to defend what they see as threatened democratic norms. The reports, one on Europe’s populist challenge and another on the growth of an “authoritarian” brand of populism in the United States, draw parallels across borders. …

They also point to what feeds this kind of “exclusionary” worldview: “At the heart of exclusionist authoritarian populist narratives is a distinction between a corrupt elite and those who belong to the relevant group of supposedly good, ordinary people. The distinction between the two is not necessarily based on ethnic or racial grounds, but it frequently is.”


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