Populism is a mushy political term, and populists tend to be a scattered bunch. But as much as the populist label has been applied to varying interests over the decades, three factors seem to provide a common thread for populism, i.e., fear of something, opposition to elites (which also has had a very flexible meaning over time), and resulting bad economic policies.
Populism first gained traction in U.S. political circles in the late nineteenth century, whereby rural, agricultural interests lined up against urban areas. Looking back on that era, the populists ironically were…

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