Global Affairs

Populists and Trumpians: Down, but not out

By mislabelling the problem, mainstream politicians risk ignoring the real electoral challenges they face

ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO

As the transition of United States presidential power moves into higher gear this week and Mr Donald Trump grudgingly signals that he won't remain in office after January, the impending arrival in the White House of President-elect Joe Biden and his team is being hailed by commentators as signifying more than just a change of government in Washington.

For it is also seen as marking a broader defeat of populist leaders around the world, a mortal blow to all those who, like Mr Trump, have risen to power by smashing decades, if not centuries, of "respectable" political debate and norms with simplistic anti-establishment appeals to the "lowest instincts" of their electorates.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2020, with the headline 'Populists and Trumpians: Down, but not out'. Print Edition | Subscribe