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Crisis of representative democracy

Reader comment on item: Why I Am Not a Populist

Submitted by Boris (Australia), Feb 2, 2020 at 10:23

If only it was so simple. But populists become popular and sometimes win elections when ordinary people feel that they are failed by BOTH sides of politics.

For instance, in the US, numerous administrations of both parties have failed to address a number of major issues such as immigration through Mexican border, massive government debt or chronic trade imbalances (Until recently it was also true for skyrocketing healthcare costs but at least there have been some attempts to address it). Or take free trade. For decades, administrations of both parties didn't just support free trade, they championed trade free trade, claiming that this will benefit American economy. And it probably overall did the distribution of benefits is grossly uneven. free trade benefits multinationals, Hollywood, tech sector, high education etc. at the expense of manufacturing. Neither left nor right seems to care. Inevitably it leaves ordinary people to conclude that politicians only care about the elite and not them. And they will look for populists to solve it.

Or take the issue close to you: immigration into Europe. Largely ignored by left and right elites. This increases the popularity of populists as you well know.

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Daniel Pipes replies:

To address your last sentence: I blame the problem of uncontrolled immigration on the Left, even when it masquerades as the Right (e.g., Angela Merkel).

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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