Quoted: Who's Afraid of a White Minority?

by Thomas Edsall, The New York TimesAugust 13, 2018

The question of whether America will become a majority-minority nation — and when that might happen — is intensely disputed, of enormous political import and extraordinarily complex. Two articles that appeared in the opinion section of The Times over the past few years made the case that misleading statistical artifacts used by the Census Bureau have increased the fear of a majority-minority America, a fear that played a crucial role in the 2016 election. Read more...


Interview: The Focal Point: White Supremacy

by Christina Pazzanese, The Harvard GazetteAugust 15, 2017

The weekend clashes between white nationalist demonstrators and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va., that killed a 32-year-old woman and injured others has reignited long-simmering fears that racist hate groups are resurgent nationally and now may feel emboldened to push their goals publicly. Read more...


Interview: How Populist Movements Emerge and Gather Strength

by Janice Stein, Disrupting the Global Order PodcastApril 24, 2017

The Trump administration, elected on a wave of populism, has moved at rapid fire pace to disrupt the global order. [...] Populism is not a new phenomenon. It has happened repeatedly in history, but what it is and when it happens is still widely debated. Hear more...


Interview: Nationalism's Appeal on Both Sides of the Atlantic

by Warren Olney, To the Point, KCRW / Public Radio InternationalMarch 15, 2017

Nationalism, populism, concerns about immigration and outright racism are part of election campaigns from the US to Europe. We hear how today's election in Holland reflects the recent past and may forecast the future. Hear more...


Quoted: The Political Lexicon of a Billionaire Populist

by Marc Fisher, The Washington PostMarch 9, 2017

From the start of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump pledged “total change,” delivering his promises with a scorched-earth political vocabulary — “Lyin’ Ted,” “Crooked Hillary,” “drain the swamp,” “lock her up.” Some found his language appalling, but others found it refreshing enough to make him president.

Now, in the Oval Office, Trump and his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, have moved beyond the campaign’s embrace of political incorrectness to shake official Washington with a new vocabulary that breaks from the usual liberal-conservative terms of ­debate. Read more...


Quoted: In Europe, Nationalism Rising

by Christina Pazzanese, The Harvard GazetteFebruary 27, 2017

Over the past 75 years, many Western nations moved steadily toward cooperation and interconnectedness, as their shared economic and political interests converged during this period called globalization. But the political winds are shifting, and there are signs of a new age of populism and nationalism emerging in Europe, a development that eventually could undermine post-war security and unity.

Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election in part by promising to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C., of political elites and to “Make America Great Again,” a broad-brush populist slogan that supported a more isolationist, protectionist, “America First” posture toward the wider world. His campaign rhetoric criticizing some Muslims and Mexicans and his recent efforts to limit immigration and trade have left many analysts wondering whether his presidency could effectively move the country toward a period of ethno-nationalism. Read more...


What 4 Types of American Nationalism Can Tell Us about Trump Voters

Washington Post | Monkey CageFebruary 6, 2017

With Donald Trump in the White House, observers are still asking what in his message resonated with enough voters to put him over the top in the electoral college. Theories include economic anxiety, racial resentment, authoritarianism and much more. As the nation debates the new president’s dramatic initiatives to restrict immigration, here is one more possible explanation: a clash of beliefs about what it means to be a real American. Read more...


The World That Awaits President-Elect Trump: Europe

Epicenter Blog, Harvard Weatherhead Center for International AffairsNovember 22, 2016

The Europe facing the next administration is as unstable as it has been since the end of the Cold War. It is threatened from the outside by increasingly expansionist Russian foreign policy and from within by a political legitimacy crisis and growing opposition to immigration. Both developments have implications for the United States and will present complex strategic challenges for a Trump administration.

The inward-looking Russia is aggressively projecting its power abroad in an effort to regain its status as a key geopolitical player and to distract its citizens from economic stagnation at home. Once he assumes the presidency, Donald Trump will contend with a Russia that has encroached on Ukrainian sovereignty, engaged in military provocations against NATO, and become deeply embroiled in the Syrian conflict. Read more...


For President Trump, the Road Ahead: A Surge in Ethno-Nationalism

The Harvard GazetteNovember 9, 2016

Donald Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton, fueled by a large turnout among white rural and exurban voters, marks a victory for the darkest forces in American politics. The United States as a society and a polity had the opportunity to stand against the politics of fear and resentment. It failed to do so.

It is difficult to know what a Trump presidency will bring. At the very least, we are likely to see the Supreme Court shift radically to the right — representing a major threat to the future of civil rights in the United States — and many of President Obama’s hallmark initiatives, including the Affordable Care Act and the Paris Agreement, will be rolled back. But those expectations would be similar for any generic Republican president working with a unified Republican Congress. Read more...


Research coverage: Donald Trump's Appeal to American Nationalism

by Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard, October 17, 2016

American nationalism has always been an integral part of Donald Trump’s message. But as the election inches nearer, the Republican presidential candidate has taken to expressing that nationalism in increasingly overt terms. “Hillary Clinton is the vessel for a corrupt global establishment that is raiding our country and surrendering our sovereignty,” he declared last week.

As patriotic appeals go, Trump’s is disturbingly dark and angry — quite far from Clinton’s notion of American exceptionalism, which is based on assimilation and inclusivity. Newly published research offers a compelling analysis of why it resonates with certain segments of society — and strongly turns off others.

Sociologists Bart Bonikowski of Harvard University and Paul DiMaggio of New York University argue that, in terms of their attitudes toward nationalism, Americans are actually divided into four distinct camps, with varying levels of patriotic fervor and distrust of outsiders.


Background to Brexit: Populism, Nationalism, and the Politics of Resentment

Epicenter Blog, Harvard Weatherhead Center for International AffairsJuly 21, 2016

In the weeks following the UK’s historic referendum on EU membership, pundits have been weighing the implications of the vote for the U.S. presidential election. The more alarmist analyses have claimed that if the unthinkable happened in the United Kingdom, it could also happen in the United States: Donald Trump could ride the wave of populism to the presidency.

These conclusions are largely unfounded. Trump may win, but Brexit tells us little about the probability of that event. The demographic composition of the two countries is vastly different, as are the mechanisms that shape the outcomes of popular referenda and presidential elections. Barring a major economic crisis that originates in Europe and spreads to the US—an unlikely event in the next four months—the two votes should be treated as independent events. Read more...


Un pur produit Américain. (English version)

Le 1 HebdoMay 3, 2016

Donald Trump’s initial successes in the U.S. presidential primary came as a shock to American media commentators, but for those who follow European politics, Trump’s boisterous political style has seemed all too familiar. Like other nationalist populists, from Geert Wilders to Marine Le Pen, Trump combines anti-immigrant rhetoric and foreign policy isolationism with extreme distrust of elites and political institutions; he is also less interested in dismantling the welfare state than his more doctrinaire fellow Republicans. The parallels extend to his supporters: as in Europe, those who favor Trump tend to be white, native-born, working-class men with low levels of education, who feel that their lives have been worsened by globalization, multiculturalism, and the neo-liberal consensus.

So is Trump simply a poorly coiffed version of Le Pen? No, for all the striking similarities, there is something uniquely American about the Trump phenomenon. The vulgarity, the self-professed political ignorance, the reality TV career, the irony of a billionaire railing against the establishment—these features of Trump and Trumpism have attracted the attention of curious and puzzled spectators worldwide. By considering the American particularities of Trump’s campaign, we can learn as much about the current election as about American political culture more broadly. Read more...


Trump and Sanders aren’t blazing new trails. Populism has run through U.S. politics for a very long time.

Washington Post | Monkey CageApril 28, 2016

Populism is hard to ignore in the current primary elections. Donald Trump, the self-described political outsider, is promising to “make America great again” by defending the people against Washington insiders, whom he portrays as self-interested, corrupt and incompetent. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont touts his track record as a longtime advocate of working people, ready to take on Wall Street and a corrupt campaign finance system.

As a result, many pundits proclaim that this election is ushering in a new era of populist politics.

But is populism really uncommon in U.S. presidential discourse? Our analysis of the past 12 presidential elections, presented in a forthcoming Social Forces article, suggests otherwise. Populism appears frequently in presidential campaigns, and it does so in a patterned and predictable way. Read more...