Make America Populist Again: Examining the Causes and Effects of Populism in the 2016 Presidential Election

Mehserle, Jimmy
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This paper examines American populism in its historical context and in relation to the current political landscape. Populism has a long history in the United States, taking multiple forms and pursuing manifold goals at different points in time. In an effort to discern the contemporary influence of populism, this paper studies the effects that variables related to demographics, education, economic strength, and local population had on voting patterns in 2016. Using county-level data gathered from private and government sources, it analyzes primary election data from South Carolina and general election data from every state with the exception of Alaska. Overall, the results indicate that populism is on the rise once again across the country. However, the results also contradict several common explanations for the recent populist phenomenon.

Populism., Elections., Political Science., Economics., History.