Populism And Democracy

1513 Words 7 Pages
Canovan in her article ‘Trust the people’ writes how she is sceptical of populism. Although highlighting many negative points of populism she suggests it reinvigorates democracy and is always inevitable. Like Canovan I am sceptical of populism, as she calls it the “shadow of democracy” but I go one further to believe populism does indeed have no place in a well-functioning democracy. Firstly, one must define a well-functioning democracy: this allows the demos to limit government power due to popular participation; the electorate giving authority and consent for a government to rule coupled with the fact power is dispersed. As well as the protection of minorities and freedoms for all. Institutions help achieve a well-functioning democracy, …show more content…
Populism appears when there is tension between the redemptive face and pragmatic face or more simply when governments promises don’t match their delivery or when peoples demands don’t get legislated for, normally during a crisis or a doctor’s mandate (change to governments manifesto due to changing affairs). In crisis non- experts (populist leaders) shouldn’t be in government because populists have simple solutions to complex situations. For example, Trumps solution to illegal immigration along a 2650km boarder is to build a wall. Such simple solutions in practice don’t work and can damage a well-functioning democracy. Governments should be pragmatic to negotiate unpredictable situations; and this isn’t always breaking promises undermining populists because populists always say that broken promises or crisis are due to the political elites breaking promises to further their own goals. Canovan says “Although economic grievances are always important to populist movements, these are overridden by arrogant elites, corrupt politicians” , therefore showing populists always blame these so-called ‘elites’. This blame wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t crisis (tension between the faces) which is unavoidable, and populism perpetuates the problem leading no closer to a solution. To conclude this point, if there wasn’t this tension between the two faces there wouldn’t be populism, but …show more content…
This positive is that populism, produces collective solidarity. This solidarity is against the elites and the political class. Ernesto Laulau writes how populism is a key component to democracy and it helps not hinders a well-functioning democracy. He says in his book ‘On populism reason’, “the affirmation of the rights of the common people as against the privileged interest groups, usually considered inimical to the people and the nation” . This means giving power to the common people rather than power being limited to the elites, a key function of a well-functioning democracy because it brings people together as well as more people taking part therefore more public participation. Furthermore, the redemptive face encourages Lincolns definition of democracy, “government of the people, by the people and for the people” , therefore populism is helping democracy as it’s the ‘will of the people’ who are making important decisions. This is a key thought by populist leaders, who like direct democracy (admire the Swiss approach of many referendums to guide government) giving the people more say therefore more democratic, however I agree with Schumpeter that only expert politicians should make big decisions therefore undermining underpinning featured of populism. For example, the Brexit vote has huge constitutional

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