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History As It Happens

Jul 22, 2021

Similar to fascism or socialism, the political ideology of populism has meant different things to different people at different times in history. Figures as diverse as Huey Long, William Jennings Bryan, George Wallace, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump have been described as populists, which may explain why populism defies easy explanation on the right and left. With its American roots planted in the nineteenth century, populism coalesced around the notion that powerful, even conspiratorial, forces were pitted against ordinary people, fueling grievances against elites and outsiders -- cultural, economic, and political elites as well as immigrants. Georgetown University historian Michael Kazin, an expert on social and political movements, joins the podcast to explain one of the most vexing issues of our day.