“Advocates of the populist thesis emphasize its authoritarian dangers while quietly pushing off stage the more enduring and structural sources of democratic decline such as the dramatic and growing inequalities of wealth and power that have defined the era of global neoliberalism, the marketization of once public goods and steady erosion of procedures of democratic accountability, and the unfettered role of money in political life that further guarantees the ongoing intensification of these processes. These more enduring sources of democratic decline—and the resulting dynamic devolution Antonio Gramsci elegantly termed, “catastrophic equilibrium”—have arguably led to the emergence of these authoritarian movements in the first place. The term populism conveniently facilitates this evasion.”

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