Trumpism, like all populist movements, won't die quickly

Populist leaders may not last - but their ideas get absorbed into mainstream politics. It's a long process before populist movements fade away.

Three years after Donald Trump rode down his golden escalator to present himself as the great hope of a new American populism, his detractors are increasingly betting that Trumpism will end in a dramatic confrontation between the President and the investigators examining how he won office.

Some, like the New Yorker's Adam Davidson, say Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team will lift the fog from Americans' eyes and lead us back towards a sober embrace of the very institutions that voters rebelled against when they chose a populist disruptor. Some, such as the Atlantic's Caitlin Flanagan, say reports about the President's sordid behaviour (alleged affairs with porn actresses, among other things) will break the populist fever. Others hope that a snowballing of policy outrages - thousands of traumatised children held in tent camps, for example - will smother Trumpism.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2018, with the headline 'Trumpism, like all populist movements, won't die quickly'. Print Edition | Subscribe