Explaining American Populism (Worksheet)

Donald Trump speaking at a rally in Fountain Hills, Arizona in March 2016. CREDIT: Gage Skidmore Wikimedia.

Why is populism so difficult to define? How has populism influenced American politics during different time periods? Why does populism not fit neatly into left-wing or right-wing camps?

Author John B. Judis answers these questions and more in the excerpt found on the right sidebar. This modified portion of his February 2017 talk on the Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics, serves as a great introduction to the concept of populism as well as some of its contradictory intricacies. 

This activity works well in an A.P. U.S. Government class. For the full transcript, please click here.