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Rise of Rightwing Demagogues Threatens Democracy Worldwide: HRW

Rise of Rightwing Demagogues Threatens Democracy Worldwide: HRW

Nadia Prupis, staff writer

The rise of political populists threatens democracy worldwide, a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) released Friday says.

Until and unless we find a way to DISCUSS what are currently referred to as “demagogues” , those begotten under the delusion of dominance as functional choice will gain by grabs and cause sclerotic consequences.


Clinton/Trump one in the same then. Hillary was cloak and dagger neoliberal one world order/war is profitable for One World Order and necessary to hold their grip on the world’s people. The dems and media shunned populist Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary and Trump who are all one in the same.


“The rise of populism poses a profound threat to human rights,”

As opposed to liberal interventialists who bomb people into submission; all under the guise of protecting human rights.


HRW or this article could have used a better word to describe these right wingers than “populists.”


Only in US-English does the word “populist” have any positive connotations mostly due to the association of the word with Bob Lafollette. In the rest of the world, “populism” is associated with right-wing demagoguery and invariably corruption. Marine LePen, Victor Orban, Duterte, Nigel Farrage and Putin are all classical populists. Even some the US/Argentine style left-leaning populists of the past like Huey Long and the Peronistas had their ugly sides.

The rise of political populists threatens democracy worldwide, a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) released Thursday says.

That first sentence is where I stopped reading, but did check the HRW report to make sure this article was representing it fairly.

“Populism” means “supporting the concerns of the people” - the very essence of democracy - which terrifies the beejeesus out of the Elites and the lickspittle lackey Ideologues who support them.

Sanders was and is a “populist”. Trump did a masterful job of pretending to be one.


I give HRW a little money every year. BTW, I truly feel sorry for those who imagine that Trump and Hillary are the same.

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Populism certainly is dangerous. It often seems to be based on claims there is a group of elites in power who don’t care about the people. In the case of the right wing this group of elites is a very large group and includes all kind of experts but particularly people considered to be part of the government establishment. In the case of the left wing the group of elites is smaller and consists mostly of people who run corporations and the claim is made that they control elected officials. This stuff is really pretty easy to believe although there is usually no direct evidence to support the belief. The main belief is that people in power don’t care about anything but themselves. Of course there are some examples of that but is it generally true? I think people who do not follow the demagogues do believe that there are people in power of good will and do care about more than themselves. There is no way to get inside the heads of the so-called elites to really find out what they think so in the end one has judge for oneself.

From the article:

“We begin the year full of anxiety about the state of the world: the deeply disturbing increase in divisive behavior and policies, and outright hatred; the attacks against fundamental human rights, particularly of those already vulnerable; and the continued widespread failure to ensure fair access to resources, prosperity, and economic security for all,” Zeid said Friday.

Yes, this is true, albeit completely anthropocentric. I would add: we are in the midst of total life support systems meltdown----- literally----- and are bringing all other species of life on this planet down with us.

The timing is perfect for demagogues to step in (in the midst of climate chaos):

“A recent study even argues that climate-triggered environmental shocks will exacerbate the very divisions that authoritarians have historically sought to exploit.”

I do hope CD posts this VERY important piece that should be headline news everywhere on earth:

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A sample of definitions of populist.

  • a member or adherent of a political party seeking to represent the interests of ordinary people 9google search)

  • Populism is a political style of action that mobilizes a large alienated element of population against a government seen as controlled by an out-of-touch closed elite that acts on behalf of its own interests. The underlying ideology of the Populists can be left, right, or middle.(Wikipedia)

  • a member of a political party claiming to represent the common people (Miriam Webster 1st def)

Another longer perspective on what is a populist

Love to hear some global perspectives and definitions. Language is a wonderful interpretive things isn’t it.


Indeed. I just checked dictionary.com as I frequently do, and found that no, I didn’t misunderstand “populism”. Populism really does mean ‘about, for, and by the people’. We are sitting here letting our language be further and further perverted until all important things will mean the opposite (i.e. humanitarian intervention, DoD, etc.).

I also didn’t like the easy labeling of world leaders who don’t kowtow to the U.S. ruling elite as “the power grabs of “strongman” leaders”. I guess it will all be easier to understand when we reach the point where absolutely everyone in public life lies because then, of course, we can understand that reality is probably just the opposite of what we read and hear. I think we are nearly there.


I’d like to add to my previous comment:

Love to hear what the term “populist” means in different global contexts. At least in terms of its use in American English, there is nothing inherently dangerous about the term populist, unless you believe that there is something wrong with representing or representative of the people.

My point is that HRW use of the term “populist” is it weakens and to an extend misleads the point that it is trying to make and the writer(s) could have chosen a much more effective term instead.

I came of age with JFK and Nixon. In my lifetime, there has never been a resurgence (or rise) of the left - not remotely.
It’s one thing to attribute that to the always deep pockets of the right, and their policy alignments with owners of mainstream media. It’s another to not to take into account the apparent (if not evident) rightward slant of the average citizen, in the U.S. and in many other countries, too.

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As far as I can tell the term Populist is one used by the 1 percent to describe any candidate or person running for office that hopes to gain power by appealing to the concerns of the masses.

As such it only has negative connotations to the 1 percent and established order. The 1 percent feels they are the ones that should dictate to the masses what it is they want or should have which is the opposite of populism.


The article betrays its non recognition of the fact that long before Trump was even a baby millionaire, demagogues had already stolen governance under their extremist populisms.
While Pubs and Dems, Conservatives and Liberals rant that only they can save the economy and save the country from the ‘other guy’, they merely continued the lies that neither of them has any intention of saving the economy or the country from the problems their politics create.
So if one believes it is the arising of the right wing now that is threatening democracy, you might as well go right back to sleep. Democracy is long gone.
Votes don’t count, gerrymandering rules, electoral colleges rule, government secrecy is sacrosanct, corporate enablement dominates, taxes are taken and used for unaccountable reasons with no need for explanation or responsibility, the military-industrial complex puts America in debt again for the umpteenth time, wars are created for economic gain and sold as national security, water, air and land are poisoned while our ‘leaders’ continue to bizarrely claim they are bringing change and accountability to our governance.
The Domination of Faux-Centrists Has Destroyed Democracy Worldwide.
Can’t create a democracy when you don’t know what a real one looks like now, can we?


Nice vocabulary :slight_smile: I had to look up sclerotic lol. As for your point, arguments do have a tendency to come down to how words are defined. I do get what your saying.

“… encourages people to give up their rights in favor of authoritarian rule as a defense against outside threats…” Literally what Hitler and Bush did, not there aren’t many more examples. But what i look at is the behavior that these leaders of nations realize about people in general. Although its not always leaders that do it. Woodrow Wilson was prompted by Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud and rebrander of the term propaganda to public relations, to have Wilson invite movie stars to the White House to popularize himself. Bernays understood that “common people” would act differently if a certain criteria was met to force a behavioral change in the human psyche. Well, so do these Authoritaians. Its been know and written down and passed through history for hundreds of years. And none of it ever needing to be hidden from the public. If anyone wants to know more, pick up Bernays book, “Propaganda” or watch the BBC documentary, “Century of Self”. The documentary is a total of 4 hour long episodes, but worth every second. I think its free to watch on YouTube now.


Trump is a white nationalist- populist. Much different than a Progressive-Populist in terms of the 21st Century meaning and policy ramifications of those words. Bernie Sanders offered a very different vision from Hillary Clinton and darn near won. The Democrats and Independent voters who voted seemed to discern the differences between these two.
As to white nationalist-populism; Trump handily clobbered 16 candidates who ran on mostly economic, judicial or military policy differences and away from overt racial policies. He didn’t get a majority of all the people but he did get the popular vote of white people. He won with racists, misogynists and religious fundamentalists voting their populist beliefs.
The fact that only 35% of American voters have a favorable opinion of Trump is pretty accurate. His base equals those regional areas where racism and whites are comfortable and popular in their skin. All the time, as in 24/7. Populism is popular among Trump supprters and so is white, authoritarian nationalism. Hitler had about 35% popularity, too. And, just look what he was able to accomplish.:wink:

A Centennial Historiography of American Populism

Worth Robert Miller…

“Democratic Promise”…Lawrence Goodwyn

“Age of Reform”…Richard Hofstadter

Norman Pollack’s “The Populist Response to Industrial America”

John D. Hicks’s 1931 study, “The Populist Revolt”

It has been many years since I studied American Populism, the only populism with which I am familiar, so when I see how the word and its meaning, in the American context, is being butchered to mean a kind of neanderthal unthinking authoritarian barbarism, I recoil, because that is not my interpretation and understanding. Above I link to some of the work in the field that I am familiar with, most I am not. It is fascinating and rewarding to read the historiography on this subject. Below, I quote the opening paragraph introducing a very comprehensive historiographical essay on the subject of American Populism.

" In the vast procession of American history, the People’s party of the 1890s appeared and then passed into oblivion in the winking of an eye. The third party’s heyday stretched from its victory in the Kansas legislative races of 1890 to the party’s becoming an annex to Bryan Democracy in 1896. In those very few years, however, Populism permanently touched the soul of American politics by agitating issues that have never lost their vitality; namely who should rule and who should benefit from the fruits of modernization."