How to be a right wing populist

by Elias Blum

(1) Evoke the legitimate fears and justifiable anger of the working class and the lower middle class, who see themselves as struggling to get by under an economic system that is stacked against them.

(2) Use authoritarian versions of nationalism, religion and ‘traditional values’ to redirect this ire and fear away from its true cause to those who are outsiders and outcasts (the very poor, the disabled, minorities, refugees, foreigners).

(3) Court the support of the rich and powerful, presenting oneself as the best guarantor of their vested interests against an angry populace who might otherwise be tempted by more socialistic solutions.

(4) Once in power, invest in the military and the police, restrict civil liberties, present opponents as ‘weak’, ‘soft’ or ‘unpatriotic’, and use a combination of selective internal repression and ‘managed democracy’ to establish a hegemony of power while maintaining just enough (crudely majoritarian) democratic legitimacy to avoid being an obvious dictator.