Characteristics of populist movements

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Characteristics of populist movements

Populist movements are characterised by a series of distinctive features that differentiate them from other political formations. These characteristics are fundamental to understanding the phenomenon of populism and its impact on contemporary society.

First, populist movements are based on anti-establishment rhetoric. They openly criticise the political and economic elites, claiming to represent the “people” against a ruling class considered corrupt and distant from the needs of ordinary people. This defiant attitude to the elite is a distinctive element of populist movements and makes them attractive to those who feel marginalised or neglected by the traditional political system.

Another characteristic of populist movements is the simplification of complex problems. They tend to present easy and immediate solutions to complex and multidimensional issues. This translates into a political discourse that reduces the complexity of social and economic challenges, often proposing radical and populist solutions. This simplification attracts a large audience, eager for simple answers to complex problems.

Moreover, populist movements are distinguished by their ability to mobilise and directly involve citizens – the leader directly speaking to the ‘chosen public’. They use modern communication tools, such as social media, to reach a large audience and build a base of loyal supporters. They organise street demonstrations, rallies and other forms of direct political participation to create a sense of belonging and involvement in their cause. This type of direct participation can be very attractive to those who feel excluded or alienated from the traditional political process.

In addition, populist movements may rely on strong nationalism and a sense of identity. They stress the importance of national culture, national sovereignty and the defence of interests.

Characteristics of populist movements
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