Comparative Politics

B14 - Comparative Populism

Date: Jun 13 | Time: 03:30pm to 05:00pm | Location:

Is there a (universal) right-wing populist voter?: Kofi Arhin (The University of Ottawa), Daniel Stockemer (The University of Ottawa)
Abstract: In this article, we compare the voter profile of Trump, Erdogan and Bolsonaro voters to decipher if there is a prototypical right-wing populist voter. Through original survey research in the US, Brazil and Turkey with 1000 participants in each country conducted in October 2021, we find that the classical voter for any of the three presidents is distinct with the exception that voters of all three populists are socially conservative. Trump voters tend to be ethnically driven, and reject minorities. For Bolsonaro voters, social conservativism and their increased age are their main features. Finally, the Erdogan voter is culturally motivated rather than ethnically motivated and younger.

Immigration, vaccines, and fighting for the people: Comparing radical right election discourses online in Canada and France: Maria Finnsdottir (University of Victoria)
Abstract: While France has long had an active radical right political scene, the entrance of the radical right into parliamentary politics in Canada is very recent. Bernier’s Peoples Party of Canada only ran in federal elections for the first time in 2019. Following the 2021 election, while the party still held no seats in Parliament, their vote share had increased to 7%. In France, the 2022 elections witnessed the emergence of a new radical right party, one trying to outflank Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National from the right: Zémmour’s Reconquête. Both parties have been incredibly active online, making effective use of social media to spread their message and recruit followers. In this paper, I employ a computational keyword analysis of tweets by candidates of both parties in the most recent legislative elections. Using these methods, I identify the common topics of online speech in both contexts, allowing for a comparison of issue salience and rhetoric for the fringe parties of the radical right in Canada and France.

Building Up the Backlash. Right-wing Populism and Indigenous peoples in the Southern Cone: Lucas Savino (Huron University College)
Abstract: This paper focuses on a comparative study that addresses the tensions between the formal recognition of Indigenous rights, its limitations under "neoliberal multiculturalism," and the re-emergence of right-wing populism in the Americas. With a focus on extractivist-based projects for economic growth, the study looks into the cases of Brazil under Bolsonaro (2019 - 2022), Argentina under Macri (2015 - 2019), and Bolivia under Áñez (2019 - 2020) and seeks to understand the ways in which Indigenous rights and politics became a matter of national politics. The argument presented here is that right-wing populism builds on the tensions and contradictions created in the previous phase of neoliberal multiculturalism whereby no significant state support for Indigenous self-determination and autonomy has resulted from the politicies of the previous two decades.

Populism and Authoritarianism: Where I End and You Begin: Dolunay Bulut (University of Arizona)
Abstract: What is populism? Is it categorically dangerous? As the concept oscillates between an emancipatory image of a pure people and a growing specter of authoritarianism, it’s difficult to pinpoint one absolute meaning. How, then, can we interpret Syriza, Freedom Party, FIDESZ, AKP, Likud, Podemos, and the Trump-led Republican Party, among countless others, under the same category of populism? When we associate a myriad of anti-democratic phenomena with the same term, populism obscures more than it illuminates the actual threat to the future of democratic politics, that is, the emergence of resilient autocracies at the semi—periphery of the Euro-Atlantic, liberal democratic core. This paper argues that resilient autocracies are those who appeal to the populist toolkit not as an instrument of competition to wield power, but as an instrument of consolidation and solidification of power, where it becomes a dangerous ruling technique. Once in power, where does populism end and authoritarianism begin? This paper grapples with these questions through the cases of Hungary (FIDESZ) and Turkey (AKP) to demonstrate the nuances of populism and offer an analytical categorization of this multifaceted phenomenon based on 1) its position vis-à-vis the modern political (hegemonic liberal) power configuration; 2) its way of cooperating and/or collaborating with other actors in the liberal democratic parameter space, both horizontally (inter-state relations) and vertically (between the state and liberal international law and institutions).