When making critical decisions, states tend to fall back on deep-rooted tradition, which has been built up over centuries of experience in the areas of governance and politics.
Humanity, nonetheless, has managed to accumulate a philosophical heritage and practical processes which can be applied when ruling, which has turned into well-established tradition.
Elites have played a role in shaping the policies of states based on an equilibrium perspective between the powerful and wealthy on the one hand and the general public on the other, with historical exceptions where the role of the elite or political ruling class yielded in favour of populist tendencies, that have used the masses and flirted with their dreams and aspirations in an emotive and demagogical way.
Definitions of Populism always focus on the central tenet of this ideology as stirring the emotions of the masses to win their support and defeat any other opposing powers.
Exceptional periods where populist movements seized power have been labelled as fascism and Nazism, its most infamous symbols being Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy.
Fascism was a form of populism based on numbing the masses’ minds and revolutionizing their Nazi racist tendencies to rule by their name. The result was, as we all know, global war and victims in the millions, and an era of European history marked by intolerance, self-destruction, and paranoia.
With the inauguration of Donald Trump last Friday as the President of the United States of America, America and the world has entered into a new era of populism, an era whose heralds have been noticed some time ago prior to the United States, at the hands of extremist right-wing parties in Europe.
Trump used the populist approach in confronting his rival Hillary Clinton, and won the majority of the American votes as a result of his populist and emotional discourse, whereby he approached the Americans who are frustrated with globalization, free trade laws, and an out-of-control economy, which contributed to the rise of unemployment.
Despite the capabilities of the Democrats and Hillary’s skills in political and partisan charisma, Trump, the unknown in the corridors of the American political elite, won the election, and entered the White House with his repertoire full of packages of promises and slogans.
The public’s need to hear to them was greater than their caution in verifying their credibility or applicability.
Trump may not be the beginning of a purely populist era, as the history of the United States and its present are inseparable from the power of the various interest groups and major rivalries. It could be argued that the new phase in America sees the beginning of new influencing powers that have come to the political scene from outside the corridors of politics and old elite.
Populism was a tool to achieve victory and defeat the Democrats, as well as the old elite within the Republicans at the same time.
It is noticeable that a populist Trump with his rampaging speeches and flaky promises are consistent with another example of the pattern of populism in the Arab region, represented by Islamic movements and political Islam in the present time.
If the features of populism in Trump’s rhetoric were based on his promises to the Americans to solve their lingering problems in the fields of economy and security without explaining to them how he will achieve that, political Islam in the Middle East has declared its equally vague motto decades ago, saying that “Islam is the solution”.
The stakeholders of this populist rhetoric tend only to manipulate the masses and deceive them, evidenced by the fact that political Islamist groups do not have any clear and declared economic program, and when they do get to govern in any country, they only enjoy the pleasures of power, and spread their followers in the chambers of the ministries and institutions without bringing any solutions or treatments.
The first goal of these groups is to gain public support and then mislead them. And when you argue with one of the followers of this trend and ask them to explain the relationship between the slogan that they raise and the basic problems facing the region now and in the future, the answer of accusing you of atonement is always ready for that question!
Populist Islamists always try to evade facing food, energy, crisis of water and resources, unemployment problems and many other basics, while seeking to reach power having slogans in their sacks only they have used them for decades to continue to deceive the masses.
This shows that all populist passionate speech is free of any content.
Despite the fundamental difference between Trump and ideological stream of Arab political Islam, the demagoguery remain a common denominator among the populists, whatever their religions and their fragile and emotional theories.
And what bring the Islamist extremism and the radicalism and populism of Trump is the time of ideological extremism that the world is experiencing today in various forms.