The election of Donald Trump caught everyone by surprise. Leaving aside the unprecedented nature of his candidacy, polling aggregators had pegged his chances at 20 percent, at the most optimistic. Exactly how Trump managed to beat the odds is still being examined and debated, but it seems clear that a substantial shift in the behavior of blue-collar and rural whites was key to his victory.
It has been a while since a strikingly populist candidate has been a major contender in a presidential election in the United States. Many think of William Jennings Bryan, the three-time nominee of the democratic party at the end of the 1800s, as one of the only other strongly populist presidential candidates in American history (Ramone, 2010). President Trump’s campaign can fairly be described as populist through his rhetoric against the elites on Capitol Hill, his appeal to working class voters, and most importantly his outsider status as a non-politician.
The sweep of the pink tide across the central Andes has been associated with populism. From Hugo Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, in Venezuela, to Evo Morales in Bolivia, and Rafael Correa in Ecuador, more than in any other region the Andean New Left has been associated with leadership styles and approaches to governing that many have characterized as populist.