The psychology of populism
Authors: Lilleker, D.G. and Weidhase, N.
Much work focuses on the nature of populism, as a communicative style and a weak ideology, yet little work has explored the appeal of populism. The work introduces evidence that populism appeals most to citizens who feel disenfranchised and marginalized yet belong to the majority ethnic group. Drawing on work around identity, we show how populist appeals position the pure people against out of touch or corrupt elites and migrants who threaten their status. The lack of sophistication of marginalized groups leads them find resonance in populist's simple eye-catching, controversial, and amusing statements and join echo chambers which reinforce their Manichean, us versus them, view of the world supported by the dynamics of the modern communication environment.