VAL 2016 | Donald Trump är mer populist i dess amerikanska betydelse än republikan. Så här långt har detta knappast missgynnat honom.
The Economist har tittat på hur det brukar gå för populister i amerikanska presidentval.
Populist insurgencies are written into the source code of a polity that began as a revolt against a distant, high-handed elite. The electoral college devolves power from the centre. Primaries attract the 20% of eligible voters most fired up by politics. Candidates with money behind them—his own in the case of Mr Trump, someone else’s for Mr Cruz—can sneer at their party’s high command.
Hence populists and anti-establishment candidates make frequent appearances in American presidential races. But as the thrilling spectacle runs its course and voters reluctantly compromise with reality, they tend to fade. That usually happens early (Pat Buchanan, a Republican firebrand who promised a “pitchfork rebellion” in 1996, won the New Hampshire primary, but was out of the race by the end of March). On the rare occasion when insurgents win the nomination, they have collapsed at the general election: Barry Goldwater lost 44 of 50 states in 1964. Those who stand as independents (as Ross Perot did in 1992) have also failed—which would not bode well for a self-financing candidate like Michael Bloomberg.
Goldwater’s surge came late; Mr Trump has mesmerised crowds, and been rewarded in the polls since July. Some Republican grandees who detest Mr Cruz even more than they despise Mr Trump have fallen in behind the billionaire. Perhaps on the day people won’t turn up for either man; perhaps the two of them will throw enough vitriol to destroy each other; perhaps what is left of Mr Bush’s $100m war chest will leave the elite time to mount a counter-attack. As of now, both populists have a chance of taking the fight to the convention and even, barring a backroom establishment deal, of winning the nomination.
Tidskriftsomslag: The Economist, 30 januari – 5 februari 2016.