Populism of the 20th century and Donald Trump – abstract

Through this research I hope to compare Populism in the United States today to its utilization by Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin during the 1930s and George Wallace in the 1960s. Further, I will explore how mainstream political parties dealt with the rise and popularity of those leaders but still barred them from achieving political success. I will begin by exploring and identifying the major themes and rhetoric associated with American populist politicians of the 20th century. Next, I will look more closely at the resurgence of Populism today by researching recent events, social and political movements, and the current administration in the United States. With this project I hope to produce a compiled analysis of historic populism and recent political movement written in the form of a literature review.

I hope to find information that will help me understand how public sentiment towards the government has changed and how the institutions of political parties and government are then being challenged. Using this analysis, I hope to understand how mainstream politics handled populism differently during the 20th century in comparison to how the Republican Party handles their attachment to President Donald Trump today. Finally, I would like to answer if the United States is currently moving toward a movement similar to that of the mid-20th century or if something else will emerge from our current democracy/political system.

My research will involve reading through various primary and secondary sources to gauge both the political and public sphere’s understanding of populism and their attitudes toward it.