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Populism, Representation, and Sanders

A Reply to Mueller

In a recent article published on Public Seminar, Jan-Werner Mueller affirmed that populism is by its very nature not only anti-elitist, but also anti-pluralist: “Populists claim that they, and only they, represent the people.” He then attacked the undemocratic tendency populist politicians show when they lose the elections: they “begin to question the existing political institutions, which are obviously producing the wrong outcome, or even accuse the winners of fraud, as Donald Trump just did.” Of course, Mueller admitted, unsatisfactory electoral results will not prevent populists from speaking in the name of “real Americans,” but at that point, …