The issue of populism became especially relevant in the mid-2010s. At that time, nationalist-conservative rhetoric, bordering on criticism of elites for the degradation of socio-economic systems in many countries, became a popular language to describe the current situation. The word populism was used to describe politicians adhering to these communicative tactics. Subsequently, some of those who disagreed with this position began to interpret populism as an empty concept used to point to bad and incompetent politicians. Democrats, on the other hand, continued to be called those whose views seemed right to people. However, populism is very much in line with the concept of democracy, but at the same time, indicates a rift within it. Populism is a policy that appeals to the vast masses and promises them a quick and easy solution to acute social problems. Broadly speaking, this policy describes ideals that praise the people and criticize the elite. There is both left-wing populism and right-wing populism, which differ primarily in economic policy. Most populist governments have at least some support from the lower class, and failures are usually attributed to sabotage by “others” or the “elite”.
One of the main arguments European populist leaders use today in their daily communication with the electorate is that globalization undermines the national basis of their own states. But this should be done more systematically. In principle, there was already this problem in the ancient republicanism of ancient Rome: the state was called res publica, which means people’s cause, people’s rule. That is, it was sort of like there had to be people, and they had to rule. But as you can imagine, the people in ancient Rome were not allowed to rule at all, unlike in ancient Greece. Especially during the first century B.C. crisis, it was subjected to revision; in fact, an authoritarian monarchy was established. But still, even in the imperial period, Ancient Rome remained res publica. Despite all the perturbations, this idea – that any state is a people’s affair – remained.
Example of Populism
Populists also have a negative attitude toward the often complex systems of democratic government and prefer direct forms of government, from decrees to referendums, which explains their authoritarian tendencies. After all, such a leader makes decisions that would be impossible to make in traditional democracies. One example of such a leader is the late former president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, who once declared: “I am not an individual – I am the people.