Forms of populist discourse

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Forms of populist discourse

Populist discourse manifests itself in different forms that aim to capture the audience’s attention and elicit an emotional response. One of the main features of populist discourse is the use of emotional appeal.

Populist leaders try to connect with citizens’ concerns and frustrations, using simple and engaging language that evokes strong emotions. They focus on issues that concern people’s daily concerns, such as economic insecurity, immigration, national identity and corruption.

Picture: Governo italiano, CC BY 3.0 IT <

In addition to emotional appeal, populist discourse often relies on creating narratives of “us versus them”. Populist leaders identify a group or entity considered responsible for the country’s problems and oppose it to the “people”, to whom they turn to build a unified vision and fight against the establishment or elitist interests. This kind of simplified narrative divides the world into neat categories of friends and enemies, creating a social and political polarisation. Another characteristic of populist discourse is the use of simple and convincing messages. Populist leaders communicate directly, avoiding complexity and nuances. They use catchwords and catchphrases that are imprinted on people’s minds, offering seemingly simple and immediate solutions to complex problems. This simplification strategy allows them to reach a wide audience and to convey their message effectively.

Forms of populist discourse
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