Be it resolved: We should embrace, not fear, populist politics


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Some proponents of liberal democracy are interpreting the US election results - and Donald Trump’s near win - as a warning sign that the pulse of populist politics still beats strong in the American body politic, an ill tiding for other liberal democracies currently trying to fend off populist insurgencies. Critics of populism say it is not inconceivable, if action isn’t taken to strengthen liberal democratic institutions and values, that the politics of Spain, France, the UK, and the US could end up looking a lot like those in Hungary, Turkey, Russia, and Brazil today. Defenders of populist politics say the recent US election is proof that the rough and tumble spirit of democracy is alive and well. They credit populism with turning out historic numbers of voters on both sides of the ballot. Thanks to populist politics, citizens have the power to articulate their interests and anxieties during a period of massive demographic and social upheaval. They argue that populist politics - both right-wing and left-wing - is key to renewing democracy and giving its values and institutions a new lease on life in the 21st century.

Arguing for the motion is Donald Critchlow, Katzin Family Professor at Arizona State University’s Faculty of History. He has recently published In Defense of Populism: Protest and American Democracy.

Arguing against the motion is Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies at Oxford University. He is the author of The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of ‘89 witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin & Prague.

Sources: MLive, Sky News, ITV News, WLKY Louisville, CBC, ABC, Al Jazeera, Daily Mail, Regan Library, Bedros Keuilen

The host of the Munk Debates is Rudyard Griffiths - @rudyardg.

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113 episodes