Everyday makers defy populists’ false promise to embody ‘your voice’

Populism celebrates laypeople without offering them any real autonomy or integrity. Geoff Livingston/flickrCC BY-NC-SA

This article is part of the Democracy Futures series, a joint global initiativebetween The Conversation and the Sydney Democracy Network. The project aims to stimulate fresh thinking about the many challenges facing democracies in the 21st century.

This is the third in a series, After Populism, about the challenges populism poses for democracy. It comes from a talk at the Populism: What’s Next for Democracy?“symposium hosted by the Institute for Governance & Policy Analysisat the University of Canberra in collaboration with Sydney Democracy Network.

Populism is not about bureaucracy, technocracy or even democracy. Donald Trump’s presidential campaign slogans – “America First” and “Make America Great Again” – clearly express the essence of populism. It is a moral and nativist political response to the increasing globalisation, professionalisation and individualisation of national policy.

We no longer live in a collectively disciplined mass society with clearly defined groups and classes along the left-right axis. The connections between bureaucracy, capitalism and democracy have long been undercut


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