Starr Forum: The Rise of Populism

Experts discuss the growing political trend with (from top left to right)  Elizabeth Leeds starting  the talk focusing on Brazil, Sana Aiyar on India, Ayşen Candaş on Turkey, and Pippa Norris speaking about the US.

MICHELLE ENGLISH: Greetings. I'm Michelle English, and, on behalf of the MIT Center for International Studies, would like to welcome you to today's Starr Forum. We're honored to have with us today an all-star cast to discuss the rise of populism. Before we get started, I wanted to mention an upcoming Starr Forum on November 15th with Steven Pinker on his latest book, Enlightenment Now-- The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress. Details for this talk and others are available on our website, or you can pick up a flyer at the entrance, and also sign up to get our email announcements, if you haven't already.

In our typical fashion, today's talk will begin with our speakers, followed by a Q&A with the audience. For those asking questions, please line up behind the microphones. We ask that you be considerate of time and others who want to ask a question. And a reminder that this will be a question and answer session, not a personal statement session.

I'd like to begin by introducing the moderator for today's event, Elizabeth Leeds. Dr. Leeds is a senior fellow at WOLA, a leading research and advocacy organization advancing human rights in the Americas, where she focuses on citizen security and human rights in Brazil. She is a leading expert on police reform and other issues of citizen security in Brazil, having conducted extensive research and fieldwork on the topics over the last four decades.

She served as the executive director of the Center for International Studies and as a Ford Foundation program officer for governance and civil society in the foundation's Brazil office. She is the co-founder and honorary president of the Brazilian Forum for Public Safety, which is a leading independent voice on public safety policies and law enforcement in Brazil. Currently, she serves as a research affiliate at the Center for International Studies. Please join me in welcoming Elizabeth Leeds.


ELIZABETH LEEDS: Oops. I didn't mean to do that. Sorry.

Thank you very much for this invitation to both speak about Brazil and moderate this panel. Brazil, as you probably know, had the final round of its presidential elections on Sunday, and the winner was a man named Jair Bolsonaro. Had been in the Congress for almost 25 years. He is a former military official, and considered something of a far right-winger evangelical, and is probably best known to the public by making some pretty outrageous statements over the past few months regarding women, blacks, and gays. And he tends to stand by those statements.

So everybody wants to know, how did this happen? He won by 55% of the vote in the second round. And I would say that Brazil's perfect storm of negative trends started in the late 200s, which opened up the floodgates for the ascension of the far right. Some analysts have said that, in fact, he had won the election before the election actually happened. His party, the-- in Portuguese, the [PORTUGUESE], the PSL, is now the second largest party in Congress, having increased its seats from five to 52 in this most recent election.

So how did all this happen? Brazil's economic potential in the 2000s earned it a member of the group called the BRICS. Led the Economist magazine in 2009 to have on its cover a now iconic photo claiming that Brazil takes off. But the economic downturn and the subsequent stagnation and recession, starting in around 2013, due in part to the drop in worldwide petroleum prices-- petroleum is one of the engines of the Brazilian economy-- and China's economic retrenchment, which caused a drop in Brazilian exports of soy and iron ore to China, resulting in recession, unemployment, and a sense of hopelessness, especially among youth who had recently graduated.

So second reason is what the Workers Party, which had been in power for 14 years, what had become famous for and praised, especially in its first eight years of governing-- those first eight years were the two administrations of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, popularly known as Lula-- it became famous for its redistributive policies, its poverty alleviation programs through the now famous [PORTUGUESE], which became internationally well-known, its push for racial justice and equality through affirmative action, its focus on gender equality, attention to LBGT rights, gay marriage. All of these policies became fodder for those who were not benefiting from economic redistribution and were resentful at the attempts at racial justice.

A third reason is the massive corruption scandal, which was known as the [PORTUGUESE], or the car wash scandal, also internationally known. This occurred on the Workers Party's watch, but affected politicians from all parties and businessmen of 12 different Latin-- well, businessmen and politicians from 12 different Latin American countries. And this gave it a further pretext for attacking the Workers Party, known as the PT, and its redistributive policies.

And finally, but no less a motivating force, the increase in violent crime. With over, in 2017, over 63,000 homicides in the country, multiple prison rebellions in 2017, and the spread of organized criminal activity all over the country, these factions are now in every single state and dominate all the prisons in the country. So this added to an insecurity and led people to search for a savior. [INAUDIBLE]

So what can we expect from this new administration? Granted, the election was Sunday. Bolsonaro does not take office until January 1. But he's been very busy getting his cabinet, getting his ministries set, and talking about what he wants to do. Now, some of the outrageous statements he makes in part were to rile up his base. Once we see what the actual policies were, maybe a different story all together.

But the most acute issues that people are aware of, or afraid of, are reversals in economic regul-- I'm sorry, environmental regulations, especially in the Amazon. And this is largely to favor agro-industrial interests. He is planning to join the environmental and agricultural development ministries, which clearly present conflicts of interest. And related to this, he's planning to reverse many of the indigenous reserves in order to expand agricultural activity in mining, thus reducing the amount of land that indigenous populations have.

Second, he's planning to, he says, criminalize social movements. So for example, the well-known MST, or the landless workers-- landless movement may be prosecuted under the anti-terrorism laws that were promulgated under the regime-- excuse me, under the administration of Dilma Rousseff.

Third, he has attempted, as already has happened, constraining academic expression labeled as ideological or communist. He's asked students to tape lectures of teachers in high schools and professors in universities to detect objectionable or ideological speech. The protection of minority rights, for example affirmative action, LBGT rights, gay marriage, et cetera, gender rights is in jeopardy.

He has created greater leniency regarding police violence, in effect giving carte blanche to police to shoot whom they think is a criminal without asking first. This is his solution to violence. This policy of confrontation is a guiding norm for public safety policy. This is already the case in many states, but this will just up the ante for this kind of politics, and is a major factor in the escalating crime in the country.

He's planning to backtrack on gun control, reversing a disarmament statute which has been on the books for a number of years. This is related to the attempt to reduce the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18, adding to already overcrowded prisoners, and providing more effective training for young potential criminals.

And finally-- and there are many others, but finally, there is clearly a heightened presence of the military returning to civilian life. He's promised to appoint at least five military officials as ministers in his cabinet. So this deconstruction of and the backsliding of rights will probably be gradual, as is the case in many populist authoritarian states, but it will be constant. I mean, we've only to see in this country the appointment of the two most recent Supreme Court justices as an example of this kind of trend.

OK. I don't have much time left, but let me just say-- and maybe we can talk about this in the question and answer period-- is where the potential resistance can come for a Bolsonaro administration. It can potentially come from the media, which has been under attack, similar to this country. It can come from civil society. Bolsonaro has said he will attack NGOs, which he sees as enemies. And it also potentially could come from the judiciary. There is not a big tradition of litigation in Brazil, but in the wake of the last few weeks, 250 lawyers have gotten together and said that they would be willing to form an organization to defend those whose rights will have been violated.

I just wanted to quote a sentence from the Levitsky and Ziblatt book on the death of democracy. "The tragic paradox of the electoral route to authoritarianism is that democracy's assassins use the very institutions of democracy gradually, subtly, and even legally to kill it." So I hope we can talk more about Brazil in the question and answer period.

Now I would like to introduce, through brief bio sketches, our other speakers. Sana Aiyar will be speaking on India. Sana is associate professor of the Class of 1948 Career Development Chair of History at MIT. She received her PhD from Harvard in 2009, and held an Andrew Mellon postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins from 2009-2010. From 2010 to 2013, she was assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin Madison. And her broad research and teaching interests lie in the regional and transnational history of South Asia and South Asian diasporas, with a particular focus on colonial and post-colonial politics.

Second, we have Aysen Candas speaking on Turkey. She received her PhD in 2005 from Columbia in political science, is an associate professor of political science at Buzici-- am I right-- University in Istanbul. Her interests are in democratization and de-democratization process, constitutionalism, basic rights of women of ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities in Turkey and Muslim-majority countries.

And speaking on the US, Pippa Norris is the Paul F. McGuire Lecturer in comparative politics at the Kennedy School at Harvard. She is an Australian Research Council laureate fellow, and professor of government and international relations at the University of Sydney. She is a-- excuse me-- comparative political scientist. She focuses on democracy, public opinion and elections, political communications, and gender politics. And her topic for this talk will be focused on work in a forthcoming book, Cultural Backlash and the 2018 US Elections. Nothing more relevant. She holds a doctorate in politics from the London School of Economics.

Hello. I would like to thank the organizers, Professor Thurman in particular, for this invitation. I'm honored to be here with such a group. I'll present what I take to be the blueprint of populism derived from Turkey's experience with it. But similar patterns have been replicated in Hungary, as well as in Poland, as far as I'm following it.

AYSEN CANDAS: I'll highlight four lessons that have significant import for beginner populists, because I see Turkey as an advanced populist case. First, desecularization, no matter on which religion's theology it is based, is detrimental for the constitutional order. Second, when movements that rely on a majority's identitarian claims monopolize power, they acquire the ability to reverse the accomplishments of constitutional democracies, no matter how weak or strong these accomplishments may be.

Third, populism is a misnomer, unfortunately. Since 2015, when AKP lost the majority vote, elections are neither free nor fair. So majoritarianism is no longer there. Turkey's experience with unhinged advanced populism proves populism is a temporary phase, I'll argue, a snapshot within the revolutionary transformation process of constitutional states into right-leaning totalitarianism. The only remedy against it is forging a common front.

And four, there are obviously structural causes of the global wave we seem to be experiencing today, such as rising inequality and insecurities. But it's a mistake to assume populists are pragmatic. In fact, they are revolutionaries who are responding to the shrinking or uncertainty of the economic pie and the associated crisis of solidarity in the most regressive manner. Populism's political proposal consists of a counter-revolution against the egalitarian liberal democratic source of political legitimacy to reinstall statist hierarchies.

The ideology of populists, therefore, must be taken very seriously, as they do fulfill their campaign promises and they are not short-termists, but marathon runners. As [INAUDIBLE] showed imminently, fascism did have an ideology, no matter how incoherent it may appear to the rational observers. To grant these broader conclusions, I'll try to ask the following three questions in the case of Turkey.

First, what was the trajectory from populism to right-leaning totalitarianism in Turkey? Second, what were the mistakes of the opposition? And third, what are the structural factors that prepared fertile ground for recruitment of various groups into the populist movement?

First, to give you a background information about the ethnic composition, ethnic and religious composition in Turkey, Turks constitute 80%, Kurds constitute 20% of the population. Both Turkish and Kurdish populations are composed of 2/3 Sunni and 1/3 Alevi. All Alevis and 1/3 of Sunnis are strictly secular. This amounts to half of the population strictly secular, half of the population pious.

Those who want to live under Islamic theocratic state, according to Pew Research, which is repeated every year, is always 12%. So 88% consistently demand to live under secular law. If so, how was it possible for political Islamists to monopolize power? The short answer to that question is the fact that the majority failed to forge a common front. Why couldn't they do so?

Since 1980s, there is an ongoing kulturkampf, or politicized cultural divide, on two major fault lines in Turkey. First one, the Kurdish issue, major demands of which are recognition of Kurdish identity, some form of regional autonomy, equal representation, and, first and foremost, the abolition of 10% national threshold, national level electoral threshold that was put into practice in 1983 to prevent Kurdish parties from entering the parliament. 10% threshold grossly skewed every election result, so much so that, in 2002, AKP came to power with 34% of the votes, which translated into 66% of the seats in the parliament. The electoral threshold that was designed by the 1980 military coup to keep Kurds out ironically let Islamists in.

Second fault line is the question of secular republic, or sharia-based monarchy. These two fault lines also cross-cut one another in the sense that many Turkish seculars who are, for example, gender and LGBTQ egalitarian, turn illiberal authoritarians on the Kurdish issue because they suspect that granting Kurds cultural rights and autonomy would lead to the partition of the country.

Similarly, intensely religious portion of Kurds supported and still support the Islamist party. Even with tremendously repressive anti-Kurdish policies in place, religious Kurds' primary preference seems to be Islamization. While the secular state demanding Kurds and Turks together constitute a majority, the disagreement over the Kurdish issue branded Turkish and Kurdish Democrats incapable of forging a solidarity on secularism-sharia divide either.

So why call the transformation in Turkey revolutionary, especially given its authoritarian history and its terrible record of human and minority rights, and why-- this is a very popular topic nowadays-- what is happening today cannot be equated with the repetition of Kemalism

The first reason, the new regime is Islamist. Kemalist authoritarianism was also ideologically driven and top down, but it was secularist. This is an existential difference, in particular for [INAUDIBLE], Alevis, secular Sunnis, secular portions of non-Muslims, and LGBTQ. Second, the new regime rejects the three constitutional legal level norms that the republic institutionalized, for better or worse. The first one was equality of men and women. The second one was equality of Muslim and non-Muslim. And the third one was equality of the ruler and the ruled.

Whether these norms could get fully realized under the Republican-- this is a separate question, and clearly not. But these were the permanent norms of the constitutions of the republic since the 1920s. So from the Republican perspective, what has taken place is a counter-revolution, in that sense. The third norm, equality of the ruler and the ruled, is completely abolished last summer.

From 2002 onwards, AKP's success depended on the following methods. It pursued a deliberate polarization policy, [? rubbed ?] the secularism issue against the Kurdish issue, gathered religious and peace negotiation-oriented single-issue Kurd support in attacking seculars and liberal democratic institutions, and gathered the secular Turkish nationalist support in attacking Kurds, [? thematically ?] embedded its insiders everywhere, skillfully used doubletalk, promising financial liberalization to financiers, anti-capitalist economy to the core followers, as well as to the fringe movements on the left, emphasizing Turkishness while speaking to nationalist, and Turkish-Kurdish brotherhood while addressing Kurds, and mesmerizing in general international and domestic media, which in turn marketed Erdogan as a cosmopolitan-minded, moderate Muslim Democrat deliberately emptied the center by criminalizing the groups at the center who could communicate with both sides on a variety of issues, while forging its own very eclectic cross-class, cross-identity coalition, and sustaining this coalition through an eclectic economic policy of some sort of corporatism that brought neoliberal policies together with economically populist ones.

This meant selective distribution of incentive and disincentive mechanisms in the form of rents, tax immunities, tax liabilities, auditing, as well as immunity from audits, services, benefits, means-tested cash transfers, allocation of state contracts, fellowships, et cetera, all of which involved allocation of a non-transparent amount of funds based on non-transparent criteria to various classes and various identities who were turned into clients of the ruling party.

Populist transition from the expansion phase to the revolutionary phase was deliberate. Two months before the democratic Gezi uprising in 2013, AKP's Istanbul deputy, [? Aziz ?] [INAUDIBLE], addressing the members of a government-affiliated association stated, quote, "Those who have become our partners in one way or another will not be our partners in the coming decade. The future is the period of reconstruction. Reconstruction period will not be as they wish. The new Turkey that will be established, the future that will be created will not be a future or a period that they would accept." Unquote.

So the blueprint's first stage involved building a large cross-class, cross-identity, cross-ideologic [INAUDIBLE] coalition. This included the organizers and informal [? corporate ?] coalition of the very privileged and the very underprivileged. The core populist movement, almost all organized interests who had a stake in financial liberalization on the one hand and democratization on the other, and the group that I'll call the cynics.

The coalition brought ideologically and socioeconomic not merely dissimilar, but also opposite trends together. Nativist, supremacist core constituency was there, but also those who thought AKP would implement EU reforms and democratize to benefit all sorts of minorities and women. The core moment was [INAUDIBLE] emphasized the superiority of majority sect, and was anti-egalitarian against religious and political minorities, women, LGBTQ, and was anti-Semitic, as well. But its mobilization tapped into the feelings of inferiority and revenge, and emphasized the loss of Muslims' privileges through the establishment of the [? egalitarian ?] republic. The fact that women with headscarves were not taken into the universities during 1990s was an evidence of Muslims' repression under the republic.

The group I call the cynics provided support at critical junctures. It included major figures of the left, liberal journalists and academics, as well as leftist fringe movements, some due to categorical cynicism, some due to inverted Orientalism or lack of any democratic expectation, or due to categorical anti-systemic preferences supported the populace, while the cynics constituted a tiny minority.

Given their dominance in mainstream media and academia and their global connections, they had the power to shape the domestic and global public opinion. So they placed representatives of the core movement in state institutions, making the agents of the movement enroll in civil society. AKP gradually captured the civil society associations from within, criminalized and closed down the civil society associations that it could not control.

Insiders circulated certain ideas and disinformation, leading the civil society to normalize certain omissions. Important sectors of civil society adopted the movement's anti-egalitarian sensibilities that were marked as cultural sensibilities, attributing ill intentions to the ruling party and reading its intentions were rendered politically incorrect. Politically regressive messages began to be regarded as the demands of the grassroots, capturing the most prominent polling agencies that seemed closer to the opposition, delegitimizing the institutions AKP did not yet control. And the process of deinstitutionalization took off.

The second stage was then-- I'm going to go very quickly-- was they completely sacked, or packed the court, constitutional court was packed in 2010. Third stage, remaining everything was packed. Fourth stage, 2015 onwards, creating absolutist unchecked power.

What's happening in that blueprint, if you zoom out-- I'll leave with this and one more point-- there are four separations that constitutional democracies accomplish, institutionalize-- separation of religion and state, separation of the spheres of economy and politics, separation of civil society and the state, and separation of domestic policy from foreign policy. All four were reversed. They were [? disseparated ?] as the result of those stages.

And finally, I don't have time to go to that-- perhaps during the question session we will address that-- but it's a resurgence of a sameness-based solidarity against a diversity-based egalitarian solidarity that is happening. And it's redistribution-related, as well. Thank you.


PIPPA NORRIS: So thank you all very much, and good afternoon, MIT. And nice to see you all. And thank you to our organizers. I'm going to give you a little snippet, because we don't have a lot of time, about the book which is going to be coming out fairly shortly, which is going to hopefully put some of these cases in context. They all have a lot which is in common. Our book focuses very much on Europe, it focuses on the United States, but you can also see strong parallels with all of the cases and others around the world.

So first what I'll say is a little bit about how it's going to be structured. And let's work out what we mean by the concepts of populism and authoritarianism. And these words are everywhere that you look, but obviously we need to unpack them somewhat and work out the differences. A little bit of evidence on Europe, a little bit of evidence on the United States, and the core conclusions.

And this is what the book looks like. And so what we tried to do-- it's an enormous book, 500 pages-- I'll give it to you all in like five minutes, so it's great value-- is go through the theory. And we set out a strong theory building on Engelhardt's work for 30 years, but then expanding it in various ways. And then we look at the broader evidence across many different countries. 28 different European countries, and then the cases of Brexit and the United States. And then we look at how this translates into parties, and then the consequences.

So first, let's just get the concepts right. What is populism? And populism, we can see, is in many different places around the world. We've talked about the rise in many developing countries, but of course it's there not just in Trump. Trump, in some ways, was a follower, rather than a cause. It's been there in Europe ever since the 1970s and '80s. It's there in many countries in Eastern Europe, as well. Latin America, of course, has a strong tradition of populism. And we also know that it's there in individual leaders, as well as in parties.

And when we think about what's happening, we can look at the changes over time. And this is the average share of the vote for populist parties across Europe. And you can see that there were always parties in the 40s, kind of the leftovers of fascism and neo-Nazi parties, but they were very much minority. They very rarely got seats. They were marginal, at the fringe.

What happened was, in the 1980s, when they started to increase their share of votes and, of course, seats, they gained platforms, they gained respectability, and increasingly we can see today they've really moved ahead. But again, it's not a brand-new phenomena. It's been around for many, many years. And therefore, we need to understand these long-term trends, as well as the patterns in particular countries. How does it vary across different countries around the world, and in Europe in particular? And this shows you the patterns.

So before we all say, well, for example, it's unemployment, it's recession, it's the impact of the housing crisis and the euro crisis in Europe, well, yes, it's there in the Mediterranean, it's there in Greece, but it's also there in some of the most affluent countries, such as Sweden and Norway, such as the Netherlands.

We can think about patterns of inequality, and certainly in certain Central and Eastern European countries, high levels of inequality have grown, but it's also there, again, in some of the most egalitarian societies around the world. It's there in Anglo, American democracies, it's there in consociational democracies. So our theories and simple solutions don't explain it very effectively.

So what is populism? There's two elements. There are only two. We strip it down to the core. And the first is clearly anti-establishment. And that's against anybody who's in Congress who's been around for too long, or in Parliament, anybody who's part of the media, the fake news, anybody who's part of the establishment in the judiciary, who is seen as partisan, anybody who's part of the old intellectual groups. I'm afraid many of us in this room are ones who are going to be attacked. As they said in Britain, experts who need experts.

Secondly, vox pop. If you can't trust the old institutions, you can't trust the liberal representatives, you can't trust the established parties, then who do you trust? And again, in all the cases, we talked about the role of corruption and the way in which we can't see the old, so we go to the vox pop, the people. Ordinary people. And the people on the street who are seen to have the legitimate power, so it's not necessarily anti-democratic, it's anti-liberal democracy.

That's a really important lesson to learn. And it can be positive for democracy if the system is corrupt. Of course we should try and have pop power going back to the people. Who could be against that? Trouble is that what happens is that it's often very few mechanisms of direct democracy, and you allow, therefore, the strong leader to come in and, again, as we've said in the cases here, who says I'm the people. I can speak for the people, I can defend the people. Trump, I am the one who can speak for you.

And what you have, therefore, is often populism which is linked into authoritarianism. And authoritarianism is a very loaded word, so let's be precise. We can talk about authoritarian regimes, but here what we're talking about are authoritarian values. And again, I've heard echoes of that in all the presentations so far.

So authoritarian values have three elements for us. One is security. You're under threat. You're at risk by the other, whoever the other is. And there could be Muslims, in some cases, there could be Kurds in others, there could be African-Americans, or they can be other groups. But whoever the other is, that's the threat.

Secondly, we have to have social conformism. Society is changing, culture is changing. Outsiders are trying to change my values, our values, society's values, what America stands for, what Britain stands for. And those threats, therefore, are seen as ones which are particularly problematic for conservatives.

And lastly, loyalty. There has to be loyalty towards the leader, who's going to protect the tribe, who's going to protect the group. So it's not loyalty necessarily to everybody in authority, it's loyalty to the person who says I'm going to make sure that we're going to get rid of the risks and we're going to preserve traditional values and we're going to represent the ordinary people.

So the two things together are what's dangerous. And again, you can have populists who are libertarian. You can think of examples, like Podemos in Spain, who are very much in favor of gender equality, who are very much in favor of LGBT rights and genuine forms of participation. The danger comes when you link that populist claim which delegitimizes the liberal institutions with a strong leader with the values which is going to run roughshod over basically pluralism, freedom of speech, minority rights, and all the other things which are at risk.

So not all populists are authoritarian, by any means, and not all authoritarians are populists, by any means. Traditional authoritarians have the barrel of the gun. They have clientelism, they have corruption, they have a variety of mechanisms. But the two things together are very powerful. And that's what we see, I think, developing in many, many countries. That's what we argue has been taking over in many European countries-- Germany, Sweden, Britain with Brexit-- and also in the United States, and also with Erdogan and with Modi and with Maduro in Venezuela and with other leaders around the world who've seen this-- Duterte in the Philippines-- and who say this is very powerful.

So a comprehensive explanation has to think about the rules of the game. How do these parties and leaders come to power? Simple example of rules of the game, we didn't have the electoral college in America, then I wouldn't be giving you this talk. We'd have Madam President in the White House.

Demand side is about the public, and their values and their norms. And you have to say, why might it be that these values have revived in some of the affluent countries, in countries which are modern? And then lastly, you also have supply. And so obviously, that's things like what the parties are doing, what the leaders are doing. And you have to have everything in interaction.

So institutions provide opportunities. The demand is where the public says yes, even though we've had a long period, perhaps, of democracy, we're dissatisfied with how it works. And you have to have leaders and parties who say, I'm going to stand for you, and really things have gone too far.

Now, what is most important is a matter of interpretation. But basically, there's two core explanations. And I'm going to give you these two theories. And in fact, I won't give you too much evidence, because we don't have any time whatever, but the two theories are ones which you've heard. But let's think them through a little bit.

On the demand side, one explanation for why now is economics and globalization. And we heard that being echoed again in some of our talks. So it's a classic explanation. It goes right back to the '50s to explain Poujadism in France or to explain McCarthyism in America. And classics in sociology use this theory-- Seymour Martin Lipset, for example, Daniel Bell. And it was thought of as an authoritarian reaction against the forces of modernity.

Well, speed up 20, 30, 40 years, and now you still find this explanation very popular. For example, in my own school, Dani Rodrik talks about the impact of globalization on markets and on jobs, and the unskilled, and those who've lost out economically by the threat of migrants coming over with cheaper labor, by the threats of manufacturing industry in many parts of America declining, particularly in semi-rural areas. Not the rural, but the semi-rural areas.

And therefore, if this is true, we should find support for all of these parties is strongest among certain social groups. We can test this. We can look at some evidence. And particularly, it should be that the least well-off are supporting these parties. The economically marginalized, the unskilled workers have been kicked out of jobs. People with long-term unemployment, people who are welfare benefit-dependent, who are also feeling a sense of economic insecurity. You've heard that argument.

We say, in fact, the evidence doesn't really support it very well at all. Here and there, there is some evidence, particularly feelings of economic insecurity. But if you look at the objective indicators-- for example, who voted for Trump in the 2016 elections? Who voted GOP in 2018? And if you look across the exit polls, you can clearly see it wasn't actually the poorest groups, the least well-off, the people under 20,000 K in America. In Europe, it isn't the poorest who necessarily voted for Brexit, despite the cliches.

Education matters, but other things of social class don't really work out very strongly. And most of them, when we test them, the only one that really survives is economic insecurities, feelings of economic insecurity. But is that because people are economically insecure or because they're told that they're economically insecure by the leaders who want to ramp up the threats? Whether it's of caravans about to attack America, or whether it's about migrants who are going to come in and take your job.

So what's the other explanation? This is the one which our book is about. And it's about to come out, so you're about to be able to buy it very reasonably from Cambridge University Press at a very good price for paperback. So what we do is we build on Ron Inglehart's work. And you'll all know, I'm sure, have heard of Ron Inglehart as the master in terms of political culture.

And he argues that, in the 1960s and '70s, there was the silent revolution. Remember, that was the idea that the young people, the students, the educated, the affluent were changing their values, moving away from material values to post-material, moving away from attitudes, for example, of patriotism and nationalism towards cosmopolitanism, moving away from ideas of marriage and the family in the traditional sense towards ideas of flexible and fluid gender identities, support for LGBT rights, a wide range of different forms of sexuality, towards gender equality, towards an idea that women and men should have interchangeable roles.

Well, that's familiar. So what's happened? What we're arguing in our book is that, essentially, social liberalism in the '60s and '70s was always a minority, and the younger generation, in particular, and educated were the ones who were the largest adherents to those values. And that over time, population change has really increased social liberalism dramatically. It's moved from a minority increasingly towards a majority in the population as a whole.

In American society, look, for example, at the attitudes towards homosexuality. Look towards attitudes on same-sex marriage. You couldn't have talked about that 20 years ago. Now, it's mainstream. And there are many other examples of social tolerance expanding. So if that's true, why on Earth have we got a Trump? Why do we have this authoritarian populism? It's a paradox, right? Not necessarily.

So what we're bringing in is the idea that all of these value changes have been coming in, particularly in urban America, particularly in a Cambridge, you know, San Francisco, but it has had a cultural backlash. And by that, what we mean is a tipping point. Now, a tipping point is an interesting phenomena. It's where a minority becomes a larger group and a majority, and the old cultural majority loses ground, losing status.

The values which they hold, which they grew up, which they feel are important are no longer seen in the media, they're no longer seen as mainstream political correctness. You can't even talk about racism in the way that you could have done in the 1950s. Attitudes towards women have radically changed. So much has changed in our lives, but as well as the people who have won, there are those who've lost.

And for them, ideas of patriotism, God, nationalism, a sense that America was once great and now it isn't, a sense that around them they don't understand what the values are on the coasts or in urban America, for them they've lost out. And it's not a myth of losing out, it's a real loss, because again, the things which they value-- and it's the older generation, it's the white generation, it's those in semi-rural areas, it's the least diverse parts of America-- and that's also true if we look in Europe, as well, it's the least diverse parts of Europe-- those groups have tipped from an old majority increasingly towards a minority, a growing minority.

But here's the kicker. There are, in the population, big, big changes, but even though that group, we argue, has had a generational tipping point and become a new minority, in the electorate they still vote. Young people, by and large, don't. Now, there was a little bit of sign yesterday-- no, yesterday, when was it-- I mean, it seemed like yesterday-- the young people were being mobilized strongly. We saw, for example, on gun control there was a really new young movement, which is vibrant.

And young people were turning out who'd never voted before. But by and large, if you're at a tipping point and you're just changing from a minority to a majority, or the other way, and particularly when you're losing ground, but you can still be just the majority of the electorate, then you can have decisive impacts. And exactly the same was true in Brexit.

This was the future of Europe. This was young people's opportunities. They stayed home. They stayed in bed. They said, oh, well, you know, we're going to be part of the EU. We've been there 40 years. Why would we bother to vote? And older people who felt that Britain was slipping away, who were talking about things like empire, for goodness sake, in 2018, who have-- the whole of BBC, by the way, is nothing but 1940s Britain, you know, winning the war, et cetera.

I mean, this nostalgia towards the past is in the grip of those who feel that somehow Europe is foreign, that the continent starts over there. The continent starts over there. But others are threatening them, whether it's foreigners-- and remember, it's not pure racism. Britain is a multicultural society. It has many groups. Bangladeshis, Indians, and Afro-Caribbeans. And that wasn't the problem. That was the '50s and '60s. The problem is often white Polish Catholics who've come in to work, or the French who've come into London for financial jobs, or a variety of different groups who are seen to threaten traditional British culture.

Now, if this is true, what we're seeing, what we're also arguing-- and I'll sit down then, because I'm afraid I have to run-- is that the old cleavages in politics were left/right. They were things we could accommodate. They were things about do you want more taxes or more spending, do you want more benefits or do you want a smaller sector of government. And we can compromise on that. We can talk about it, we can bargain, we can come out to a solution. Infrastructure, we can come out to a solution.

On these cultural issues, we can't. It's a new cleavage, which is dividing authoritarians who believe that socially conservative values have to be reasserted because they're under threat and liberals-- or libertarians, to be precise-- who believe that these values are ones that need to be moved forward. And because the authoritarians have mobilized, so now the liberals are mobilizing equally, and polarizing the progressive movement in the Democratic Party, for example.

So big, big changes. And those cultural issues are ones which often it's very difficult to give ground. And therefore, intolerance is increasing on both sides. Can you, for example, be just a little bit sexist? Maybe. Can you be a little bit racist? Maybe. But again, as certain groups have become emboldened by the leadership and able to say things that they wouldn't have said 20 years ago, perhaps, or wouldn't have said in public, or wouldn't have said in a broader public sphere, the hate groups, for example, which have come out the woodwork, and the groups who are now in Germany who are protesting against migrants, or the groups who are using hate speech in other countries, those groups are really expanding. And as a result, the left and those who are liberal is also becoming more intolerant, because the center ground gives way. It's the kind of TS Eliot classic thing.

So if this is true, we should be able to find that these votes are strongest amongst the college-educated, absolutely. Amongst the young, absolutely. Again, look at the New York Times exit poll for 2018, and the gap between those who are under 30 and those who are over 60 in America is the largest it's ever been. And it's an enormous gap. There's always been something there, but it's really expanded. And that's also true, again, in Europe, and that's also true over Brexit.

Age and generation really matters. Class and income no longer demarcates nearly as clearly as we might have expected. So culture matters. Cultural insecurities matter, and the ways in which some groups feel they've lost out from these long-term secular trends of education, urbanization, and growing patterns of generational change through just demography. So I'm afraid all the older white men in the audience, I'm sorry, but you know, changes are coming, but the backlash is also becoming very, very strong in America, and in Europe, as well.

Now, I really have to apologize, I just have to rush. I'm going to disappear, so I can't answer any questions. My excuse is I've got a meeting in Sydney which I've got to go to right-- electronic meeting in Sydney, not [INAUDIBLE]. So--


AUDIENCE: You had us all wondering.

PIPPA NORRIS: I know. And I'm organizing the meeting, so I really have to rush. But really, thank you very much for the invitation. And I hope that pulls some of the [INAUDIBLE].


ELIZABETH LEEDS: As Michelle mentioned earlier, we're going to have questions on both aisles. So if you do have a question, or a brief comment, please line up at the microphones. And since time is short, we will start over here with this questioner.


ELIZABETH LEEDS: Also, could you identify yourself.

AUDIENCE: Oh, I'm Una Hajdari. I'm a fellow at the Center for International Studies at MIT. I have a question that I wanted Pippa to stay for, but-- so two questions. The first thing is all of you refer to all this as populism and not as nationalism, which is kind of the term that-- I'm from the Balkans. We call it nationalism more than populism, rather. But would you want to talk about that? I mean, the President of the United States has identified himself as a nationalist, not a populist necessarily. Others have called him populist. Which one--

ELIZABETH LEEDS: Is the mic on?

AUDIENCE: It is on. Should I be louder? Hi. What's the difference between populism and nationalism is my question. And the second question would be why do you think nationalism-- or populism, sorry-- is different in post-colonial societies versus sort of Western, developed countries that haven't been colonized? Thank you.

ELIZABETH LEEDS: Anybody want to grab that?

SANA AIYAR: Or shall we take some questions perhaps?

ELIZABETH LEEDS: We could-- all right, we could take one more question and then combine them. Yeah.

AUDIENCE: Hi, I'm [INAUDIBLE]. So I really want to ask how in the developing world, or say, immature democracies, how does the military collaboration help populism, because the recent election in Pakistan of Imran Khan or recent election in Brazil of Paul Bolsonaro. I see a very strong correlation with the military. So what my observation is, that the military sort of finds a populist puppet government in weak democracies. So how do you see the two playing out? How is the military establishment supporting populism in these countries?

SANA AIYAR: Should we take [INAUDIBLE]?

AYSEN CANDAS: OK. About nationalism versus populism, nationalism does not have to be virulent, I guess, as populism is. Populism is based on authorization of a particular type of group within the society, which are in the minority, and it's mobilization in a very hostile, virulent manner. Nationalism could be likened to patriotism. It doesn't have to be--

AUDIENCE: No. Most would disagree, ma'am, but please go ahead.

AYSEN CANDAS: Yeah, but what I mean is, of course it's a virulent type of nationalism. Populism is a particular type of nationalism that takes authorization to another level, to an extermination level, if you will. That's how I see it. About the post-colonial context perhaps, I would say something. The military cooperation question, perhaps in 1950s, 1960s nationalism in Turkey, 1960s populism in Turkey, could have some similarity to Pakistan's recent issues. But right now it is a completely different type of thing in Turkey, what's taken place in Turkey. It's a very particular situation. The identity of the Army is also changing from secular to Islamist, so it's a civilian populist movement, the one in Turkey.

SANA AIYAR: Thank you for that question. You know, the reason why I quoted [INAUDIBLE] at length in my opening and closing remarks is because he really was a critic of nationalism. And I think in his writing, and also Gandhi's writing, there was a sense looking at Europe that nationalism does lend itself to this kind of populist authoritarianism. But nationalism can both be [? immense. ?] But I think those thinkers recognize also that nationalism can be emancipatory. After all the rights, freedom, equality, ultimately seemed-- there seemed to be a consensus from the late 19th century onwards that it's a nation state that ultimately is able to give that individual through citizenship all these things that other political formations weren't able to give. But in that, I think there's that struggle of defining the nation and that's where this definition of nationhood is not something that's given, but that's constructed, that's historically contingent, and is always contested, I think is really important, the ideas, the values that the last speaker spoke about.

Because the other side is the tyranny of that singular definition of nationalism, the exclusiveness of it, and I think that really is the struggle. And so what populist leaders and movements are able to do is to really deploy these sentiments, the affective and the effectiveness of nationhood and nationalism and belonging to these populist kinds of policies and politics. On the sort of post-colonial question, which I think speaks to the question you raised about Pakistan as well. So actually, in Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the first populist, much like Indira Gandhi, in fact, stands as a sort of non-military person. And I think, again, there is that sort of sense of democracy and a certain kind of democratic nationalism lending itself to populism. Not all populists are bad, right? It's that combination, that trifecta, in some ways of the majoritarianism, the authoritarianism, and the populist sort of sentiments that ultimately can create a pretty explosive situation.

But as far as post-colonial countries were concerned-- at least for the British empire that I can speak to, there are certain cleavages that were introduced right from the early 20th century onwards-- in fact from the mid 19th century onwards-- where for much of South Asia, there's a division. Like political society is defined along these religious lines-- you're given the right to vote based on whether you are Muslim, [INAUDIBLE], or Hindu. And in much of Africa, it's divided not so much along religious lines but ethnicity-- or what we call tribes, but it's ethnicity.

And ultimately, the moment of decolonization-- and this is where I think populist leaders, in most post-colonial countries in South Asia as well as Africa, ultimately they are able to get rid very quickly and most countries-- not so much in India-- of the liberal democratic, secular, state sort of leader, on the basis of saying, well, they were just set up by the post-colonial government.

And that process of decolonization, where there's a sense that the post-colonial leader was set up by the exiting state, allows for a certain kind of populism, whether we think about Uganda, where the Idi Amin [INAUDIBLE], and here there are military coups that take place. The struggle in Pakistan over being able to establish a constitution with [INAUDIBLE] death quite soon after, I think really plays into that.

And I think in that sense, it's a very distinctive story, in much of post-colonial world from what we heard about in America and Europe.

ELIZABETH LEEDS: Let me just talk briefly about the military presence now in Brazil. The military was in power for 20 years, from '64 to '85, essentially. But the transition to democracy is a very soft transition, compared to other Latin American countries. The military was never blamed for their 20 years of military regime.

Brazil did not have a Truth Commission until very recently. And that was instituted by the workers' party, especially under Dilma Rousseff, who had, herself, been tortured by the military. So there was a kind of a tacit agreement between the elites and the military, that nothing too radical would happen in terms of punishment.

Some argued that the PT creating a Truth Commission broke that tacit agreement, and that the military-- now that they had one of their own, Bolsenaro was a captain in the military before he joined congress-- one of their own gaining power, it creates an opening for a military presence. We don't know yet how much that presence will be manifested.

As I mentioned, Bolsonaro has said he's going to put military in charge of five ministries. So the moment has created an opportunity which they didn't really want before.


AUDIENCE: Hi, my name is Latif. This question is more for Dr. Aiyar, I think. So could you speak to maybe the resilience of Indian, and maybe the South Asian countries in general, in terms of their judiciary, and being able to deal with these forms of populism? And what, if any, are irreversible changes that these forms of populisms may have impacted those specific countries?

SANA AIYAR: Do we want to take a few questions?

ELIZABETH LEEDS: We can take one more, yes.

AUDIENCE: Hi, this is a question to Miss Candas. I'm Morat, an undergraduate student of physics. I'm from Kyrgyzstan. So my question is twofold.

So where do you think Kyrgyzstan has had it? You know, it's surrounded with authoritarian strongmen players, and it is Kyrgyzstan has been known as the oasis democracy. The second question is, how can it use-- Kyrgyzstan, how can it use tribalism to survive? How can it use tribalism to basically sublimate all of these things, and be seen as the true democratic state?

AYSEN CANDAS: Did I understand the question correctly? May I repeat, rephrase the question? You're asking about Kurdistan--

AUDIENCE: Kyrgyzstan

AYSEN CANDAS: Kyrgyzstan, OK, Kyrgyzstan, and about tribalism. I heard it as Kurdistan, so I, you know, OK. And the first question was--

AUDIENCE: Where do you think Kyrgyzstan is headed? You know, it's surrounded with like authoritarian countries like--

AYSEN CANDAS: I mean, Russia's influence seems particularly strong, and it looks like some of the phenomena that we are now defining is populism, which seems to have different strands, perhaps, the one particular to minority political parties in Europe, as opposed to countries like Turkey. But some of these models are also similar to Russia's neo-patrimonialism, it's also defined as neo-patrimonial model.

And it seems to me that area, which was ex-Soviet republics, these are creating one-man rules that are really patrimonial, crony capitalism, very corrupt, in general.

AUDIENCE: I'm sorry, you said chronic capitalism?

AYSEN CANDAS: Crony-- crony capitalism. So patrimonialism, neo-patrimonialism is defined that way in general. So I don't know too much about Kyrgyzstan to say more about it. But in general, the Central Asian countries are-- they seem to be replicating the same model in the area. I don't know whether that helps at all.

AUDIENCE: How about second question?

AYSEN CANDAS: The second question? I mean, the tribal thing is included in the definition of patrimonialism. Patrimonialism is a kind of [? majoritarianism ?] that defines a homogeneous, identitarian identity for the nation, the genuine nation. And it dis-separates the distinction that's institutionalized in constitutional democracies about distinction between economy and politics. And instead, it's completely politicizes also the economy, the market is not really free, the government contracts are a way of making people richer or poorer.

So that's called crony capitalism. So tribalism is part of that, I guess. Depending on the type of population.

AUDIENCE: It's funny you say it's--

ELIZABETH LEEDS: Excuse me, let's give somebody else a chance.

AUDIENCE: Yeah, the last comment-- you know in the national myth, you know Kyrgys are born from a mother, so it's supposed to be matriarchal, but [INAUDIBLE].

SANA AIYAR: On the question of the resilience of the judiciary, and certainly I can speak with a little more knowledge to India. It goes back to a very strong constitution that was put into place very quickly after independence, and a clear separation of the judiciary from the executive. And it also goes to the people who occupy positions.

But I think that that resilience is going to continue. And certainly the judiciary has been a balancing act on much of the kinds of political policies that are being put into place, and there has been-- certainly more recently-- with LGBT rights, and other rights, that the judiciary certainly has upheld what we would call liberal values.

But on the other hand, the judiciary-- now here I'm thinking also of legal cases, you know, the law as process-- corruption cases, whether they are against congress politicians or other politicians, they take ages to be cleared, and ultimately every politician is acquitted. So the process is not as efficient, even if the values might be being upheld in certain spaces.

And I think that if the Hindutva agenda of changing and rewriting history in textbooks, and institutions, educational institutions, really changes-- and this, actually, for me is the much more long-term threat, it's the marathon that I think you mentioned-- then ultimately, as this generation of judges and lawyers pass, the next generation, who might be inculcated in a different sense of nationhood and national identity at the school and higher education level, for them, the values that are changing that are in parliament are going to be upheld.

And the citizenship bill, for example, can very quickly be taken to court, and make Muslim minorities-- especially in the borderland areas of India, where there has been a long history of migration, given the neighbors that we have-- it will really create a certain sense of insecurity for a lot of citizens.

ELIZABETH LEEDS: Two more, one from either side. Over here.

AUDIENCE: Thank you. My name is Tom, I'm on staff here. And I'm Brazilian-- that is, I'm a Brazilian citizen. And one thing that I noticed about Brazil was just the kind of mass hysteria, almost, of this-- a good friend of my mother's opposes Trump, her daughter is gay, voted for Bolsonaro. The daughter who's gay also voted for Bolsonaro.

I mean, this is just phenomenal. And I think that it was caused by all of these crises. Can you speak to-- when I say crises, that of economic crisis, crisis of personal security, and political crisis of legitimacy of the parties-- can you speak to how global crises of the capitalist system, following the financial crash of 2008, and crises of things like immigration-- not just immigration, but refugee crises-- and climate change crises are fomenting this rise of the right internationally, if you believe that it is?

And secondly, I wanted to ask about something that Martin Luther King Jr. raised in his letter from a Birmingham jail, which is the danger not just of the worst reactionaries, like the KKK and the people in hoods, but the moderates who enable them. In fact, Emmanuel Macron today, wrote a piece in Le Monde-- folks may have seen it-- but praising Philippe Petain. And of course, once this election just happened, the first thing that Nancy Pelosi said was, I want to reach across the aisle and collaborate with Trump, and so on.

So I think that we have to call out the liberals and centrists who may enable and allow and collaborate with this rise of the far right as an enabling factor. And I want to hear your comments about that, as well.

ELIZABETH LEEDS: We'll take one more over here.

AUDIENCE: Yeah, my question is to Professor Aiyar. I mean, you spoke of India's tolerance, right? So let me begin by saying that India's tolerance is a myth-- we saw that in '84, we saw that in the '90s, we saw that in 2002.

So while the congress was opportunistically communal, can you argue that the nature of communalism under Narendra Modi has changed post 2002? Because it began to mask itself as a nationalistic force, which was never done before. That's the question.

AYSEN CANDAS: About the Brazil question--

ELIZABETH LEEDS: Well, I can-- do you want to--

SANA AIYAR: Certainly, so I completely agree that the tolerance is not perfect in any way. And you mentioned 1984, 2002. But I think-- and this is why I go back to the sense of ideas, even as there was violence committed against many different communities, and some of it state-sponsored, in '84, certainly, with the congress-- there wasn't an underlying ideology, and a political vision that wanted to be seen through.

So in any society-- so I don't at all contest, I think you're absolutely right, that it isn't a perfect tolerance. But I think at least the aspiration, or the definition-- and that's where the constitution gets written, and you have certain laws in place, and a culture, a value system, a milieu of nationhood, an idea of nationhood, that will at least aspire to that tolerance and diversity.

And so I think that the Modi and the Hindutva vision of nationhood-- and it is a vision of nationhood-- is quite different, because it has these deep historical roots and ideas and ideologies that are going to be seen through. So it's not about just the moment of 1984, where a certain set of conjunctions lead to riots against the Sikh community.

But this is a much more long-term sustained program, which I think is quite different from what you would call-- I wouldn't call the congress's communalism, but the congress's imperfections in being able to uphold that unity and diversity.

AUDIENCE: Just one more. What role has congress's distortion of the concept of secularism played in the rise of Narendra Modi?

SANA AIYAR: Of the rise of Narendra Modi? Well, to be quite honest, I think they haven't been strong enough in condemning it. I think that there is a certain courage that is needed in clearly condemning both the violence and the ideas, and they haven't quite been able to do that.

AUDIENCE: I said congress's distortion of the practice of Indian secularism. You had Rajiv Gandhi who opened the doors of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. And simultaneously, the parliament, in order to cater to the whims of Muslim sentiments, rather the conservative faction of the Muslims, they outed the Shah Bano judgment. So that was a distortion of Indian secularism, which has been practiced over the years.

And this is something, obviously Narendra Modi and the Hindu right, time and again, they have critiqued that. So would you say that that has played a role in the rise of Hindu fascism in India?

SANA AIYAR: Well, it's certainly part of the process. But I wouldn't say that there's such a clear-- we can chat a little bit later, but I wouldn't say that the one leads to the other.

ELIZABETH LEEDS: I just-- were the one who asked about the-- yes.

So I think the examples you've given of seemingly contradictions of who would have been-- who was a Bolsonaro voter, I think it shows that there is a tremendous-- there are contradictions within society. But the economic and the security issues were overriding, I think, the fear that people have for those. Especially the security issues. It's a tremendous fear that people are looking for a savior, Salvador da Patria, despite potential discrimination for themselves.

I think that the world-- well, Brazil is part of this certainly the world economic situation. The economic downturn, as you pointed out, was very much a part of that. And created the economic insecurity that so many of that generation are feeling.

So I think that's--

AUDIENCE: Does anyone want to take my second question about the role of moderates in enabling the rise of right-wing populism?

AYSEN CANDAS: Perhaps I can say a few things about that, because in Turkey, that was an issue, as well. Of course, populism deliberately polarizes into two camps. And then in the social democratic, or center left parties, there is generally this debate-- and I see it getting repeated in so many contexts right now. Should we go to left, to the more socialistic policy, that kind of route? Or should we go right, in order to address the population that is voting for the populist? Should we tried to get their votes?

And that discussion also fragments the social democratic parties into two. And in Turkey, for example, it really fragmented the social democratic center left party. One part began to address Islamism, as it became more mainstream as the result of that, Islamism became more mainstream.

And the people who wanted to politicize economic issues more, they can not do much, because as I tried to explain during my presentation, there's an economic populist policy context that a populist government, Erdogan's people are doing all the time. So there are those economically populist policies that they are conducted.

For that you need to have public funds under your hand. So when they are already doing those things on the basis of [? clientelism, ?] the Social Democratic Party can not really promise, I'm going to come to power, plus I'm going to give you this, give you that. So in a way, they become more and more defensive and reactive, as a result, instead of becoming proactive. Because the populist governments are economically populist, as well as neoliberal at the same time. There's that basic contradiction built into it.

So as a result of that, I think the voters have become single-issue voters. I think that explains the contradiction you have. There is a precise reason why a gay person may choose to vote for this guy, if there is a single issue that she or he favors.

ELIZABETH LEEDS: How are we doing on time? Do we need to-- OK. Sorry, I think we're past our closing time. But if you want to ask questions of people on the panel, please help yourself.