The trouble with anti-populism: why the champions of civility keep losing

With rightwing demagogues gaining power and public debate getting nastier, many are calling for a return to a more sensible politics. But this approach has its own fatal flaws. By Benjamin Moffitt

You’ve probably heard some version of it in recent years. Maybe you’ve even said or thought it yourself. “Politicians are always fighting!” “Politics has become totally irrational!” “Why can’t politicians just compromise, find some consensus and solve our problems?”

For many people, these views have come to seem like basic common sense. In this era of extreme partisanship, the argument goes, what we need is more unity and moderation to bring us together. And if there is one group of politicians who have been blamed for the sorry state we find ourselves in, it is populists.

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