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The Macksey Journal

Abstract

Populism has been a rising phenomenon, overtaking the entire international system with varying degrees of success. The characteristics of populism, deemed to be one of the most important political buzzwords of this age, is contested as it has been applied so broadly to both political actors and parties by each other and the media. While there are many ways to define this term, this paper defines it as a thin-centered ideology that can take different forms with varying political consequences. There is a specific type currently that is cropping up within different political regimes across the world. Alarmingly, this populism exists within democracy and takes advantage of the democratic framework in the name of the people to counter the so-called elites and push forward one actor’s or one party’s political agenda. In Europe, this is especially concerning because it is perverting the very institution on which Europe today was created: The European Union (EU). By examining the concept of today’s populism and the development of its European strain, the development of the EU, and the events that have been occurring throughout, it can be determined that this is a dangerous problem, especially in Europe, that threatens both the EU and democracy itself. By understanding the true nature of populism and what it entails, the political situation of Europe can be exposed for what it is, and steps can be taken to continue to uphold the stability and peace that the EU has ushered in since its inception.

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