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    ‘I, the People’: a deflationary interpretation of populism, Trump and the United States Constitution

    Singh, Robert S. (2017) ‘I, the People’: a deflationary interpretation of populism, Trump and the United States Constitution. Economy and Society 46 (1), pp. 20-42. ISSN 0308-5147.

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    This essay advances a deflationary interpretation of populism, Donald Trump and the United States Constitution. It accepts that Trump utilises a populist pose but rejects populism as too reductive for understanding his ascension and constitutional challenge. First, it argues that although he merits the designation, Trump reveals more about populism than populism does about him. Trump illustrates populism’s conceptual elasticity but employing it as a frame to understand him imposes coherence upon a figure whose monetised politics are chaotic, shallow and unanchored by principle. Second, populism provides a necessary but insufficient condition for critically explaining Trump’s ascension, either in terms of electoral populism or populism in power. Third, while democratic deconsolidation under Trump’s presidency cannot be discounted, the Constitution remains resilient in most important respects. A dispassionate constitutional sociology counsels a deflationary understanding rather than an uncritical alarmism that too frequently reproduces and reinforces the darker aspects of Trump’s populist political logic.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Rob Singh
    Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2017 14:55
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:31


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