Democracy v. The People

Alberto Polimeni in the Boston Review:

For some, late 2020 brought with it an air of optimism regarding the fate of right-wing populism. In the United Kingdom, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party faded into obscurity, and the populist right’s GB News experiment foundered. In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro’s disastrous response to COVID-19 seemed to hemorrhage his support and threaten his reelection chances. Greece’s fascist Golden Dawn party was legally disbanded, Germany’s AfD started slowly losing popularity and parliamentary seats, and Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden.

The picture looks different today. Trump continues to claim election fraud, Bolsonaro may win reelection later this month, and far-right parties have advanced in Sweden and Italy. But with the apparent respite came a flurry of political analysis seeking to draw key lessons from it—about strategies used to defeat the populist right and structural reforms that could codify these victories.

One of the most prominent voices on these trends has been Princeton political theorist and historian of political thought Jan-Werner Müller.

More here.