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Why Isn’t Trump Riding High?

May 11, 2020
Bart Bonikowski in The New York Times Opinion

Bart Bonikowski, a sociologist at Harvard, argues that short-term developments notwithstanding, right-wing populism will remain a force nationally and globally. He notes that in recent years, “aggregate Americans’ attitudes toward immigrants and minorities have been shifting, on average, toward greater inclusion” and “there is no reason to expect these trends to reverse in the post-Covid era.”

The future of conservative populism, in Bonikowski’s view, will vary country by country:

Most right-wing populist parties are led by political amateurs who have little regard for scientific expertise and effective governance — hardly a winning combination in the midst of a pandemic. But they are adept at scapegoating others — elites, minorities, other countries — for domestic social ills, while undermining institutional norms. What is more certain is that regardless of their ability to capitalize on the current crisis, radical-right parties will continue to be a feature of contemporary politics for years to come.

About the Author

Bart Bonikowski

Bart Bonikowski

Past Resident Faculty

Bart Bonikowski was associate professor of sociology at Harvard University and resident faculty at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University until 2020. Relying on surveys, textual analysis ...