Populism will win the next election as it did in 2016

Fernando Fernández/ Contributing Writer

Populism won Donald Trump the 2016 U.S. presidential election and will help win again in 2020 if the Democratic Party fails to nominate a candidate who can tap into that populist sentiment.

But wait; is that populist sentiment still alive and well ? 

After all, we’re only talking about 2016 right ?

Well, as President Trump famously repeated during the debates, wrong.

The populist sentiment which catapulted Donald Trump to the presidency in 2016, is still very much alive and well.

Populism thrives when confidence in our political and financial institutions hits a new low; and the fact of the matter is that the country is currently experiencing one of those lows.

NBC/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll of 1,350 National Adults, which was conducted on January of 2018, found that American confidence in key political institutions, such as the media and Congress, has hit new lows, including 30% for the former and 25% for the latter.

Additionally, Gallup found that, last year, only 25% of Americans had confidence in big business and only 30% of Americans had confidence in banks.

President Trump exploited that lack of trust in 2016 (attacking the “all talk-no action” politicians, calling out the “fake news”, and pounding on Mrs. Clinton for her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs) and will surely do so again in 2020, if the Democratic Party nominates another candidate who is perceived as part of the elite.

Couple that distrust with the fact that we live in an age where we have access to virtually unlimited information via the internet, and the prospects of a classical, elite-backed politician winning in 2020 start to become even more bleak.

When we have websites such as Open Secrets, the source of a candidate’s campaign funds is not as easy to hide from the public.

When we have websites such OnTheIssues.org,  a candidate’s voting record is no longer as easy to hide from the public.

In conclusion, presidential candidates in today’s day and age, have a much tougher time defending themselves against an ever increasing level of scrutiny.

To defeat President Trump in 2020, the Democratic Party needs to nominate a candidate who has a proven track record of fighting for the “common man”, has a proven track record of fighting the “elite” and has the credentials/say to expose President Trump’s tendency to fill up the swamp, rather than drain it.

If they do otherwise, President Trump will once again play the populist card and get re-elected to a second term, to the dismay and joy of many Americans.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo by Jonathan Simcoe on Unsplash

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