Interview #57 — The strategic use of Populism

What is a populist party? How do we recognize populist politicians? And even more importantly: if every political discourse can contain populism, does it still make sense to distinguish between populist and non-populist actors? In this interview, Magdalena Breyer explains that political actors – both populist as well as mainstream ones – can make use of a populist rhetoric in a strategic way. For example, both mainstream and populist parties are substantially more populist when in opposition. On the other hand, mainstream parties who lose votes don’t really become more populist. Moreover, Magdalena shows that in Austria the populist parties FPÖ and BZÖ substantially decreased their degree of populism when in government.

On a different note, the tour of presentations of The Populist Interviews continues. After three amazing events in the Netherlands, soon there will be an online even, a podcast, an Italian mini-tour, a presentation in Switzerland, and much more.

Check all the news and updates here, and enjoy the read!

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Interview #31 – The Contagious Effect of the Radical Right

In this interview, Tarik Abou-Chadi explains that when radical right parties are successful (and especially when they enter parliament), mainstream parties shift toward a more anti-immigrant position. This is hardly surprising. However, according to his studies, this is a totally counterproductive move, and established parties should not go in pursuit of anti-immigration discourses because that would make them lose votes. If there is an “original” nativist and anti-immigration party, why voting an imitation?

Moreover, he claims that the shift toward more anti-immigrant positions of established parties that we have witnessed in the past 20 years is not simply a representation of public opinion, but a strategic move towards the success of radical right parties. In fact, in most Western European countries attitudes toward immigration have become more positive.

In other words: would we have seen the same anti-immigrant shift by established parties had the radical right not been successful? 

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