Contemporary US Populism in Comparative Perspective

Open to the Public
Nador u. 15
Quantum 101
Friday, October 12, 2018 - 6:00pm
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Friday, October 12, 2018 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

The talk is set to summarize our book with Kirk Hawkins forthcoming with Cambridge University Press’s Elements Series. We argue that Americanists who struggle to either understand, explain (or simply acknowledge) the emergence of forces like Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders would benefit from consulting the decades old literature on Latin American or European Populism. We introduce populism from the comparative perspective to the Americanist crowd and use the tools provided to objectively assess what is going on in the US, putting the findings in a comparative perspective. We begin by measuring the level of populism in the 2016 US primary elections where we find that multiple candidates of both major parties utilized a strong populist message. We explore Trump’s first year as president and compare him to other leaders and the two preceding US presidents. We continue in exploring the levels of populist attitudes and their predictors going back to 2008. Look at the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street in 2012 and support for the populist primary candidates in 2016. Finally, we look at what the presence of populism means, in general for a country and, based on the comparative experience, where is the US heading with Donald Trump at the helm.


Levente Littvay is Associate Professor of Political Science at Central European University, Budapest Hungary, where he teaches MA and PhD courses in applied statistics with a topical emphasis in electoral politics, voting behavior, political psychology, American politics and is the recipient of CEU's Distinguished Teaching Award. To date, he has secured over half million EUR in grants to conduct research on survey and quantitative methodology, twin and family studies (as the co-director of the Hungarian Twin Registry), and, most recently, the psychology of radicalism and populism. He has publications in numerous journals, including The Journal of Politics, Political Psychology, Politics and Gender, Social Science Quarterly, Journal of Theoretical Politics, PS: Political Science & Politics, BMC Medical Research Methodology, Behavior Genetics and along with several other medical research journals in Twin Research and Human Genetics where he is Associate Editor for Social Sciences.

Populism Research Group is a platform bringing together scholars and students working on populism or topics related to populism. The group aims to engage people in interdisciplinary dialogues across various fields and backgrounds through activities such as seminars, workshops, formal and semi-formal meetings.