Populism After Trump

Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy
Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy By Howell, William G., Moe, Terry M.

Last Sunday I spent an hour with Reason editor Nick Gillespie, putting the Capitol Riots in the context of longer-term erosion of trust in our institutions.

This Sunday, I will continue this theme with Professors William Howell and Terry Moe, authors of Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy Howell, the Director of University of Chicago’s Center for Effective Government, alongside Terry Moe of Stanford’s Hoover Institution, provide an even broader historical framing for the enduring appeal of populist figures like Donald Trump.

However, Howell and Moe argue, Trump was merely a symptom of a deeper phenomenon that pre-dates him, and which will outlast his administration. If the Democrats in power neglect the root causes of our national malaise, say the authors, then we may be due for another populist uprising in the next election.

The book is an excellent read for libertarians who wish to challenge their beliefs. Rather than seeing the failure of our current government as an opportunity for more libertarian policy and a return to the founders’ ideals, Howell and Moe see a need for institutional reform in a different direction. He wishes to build up a “big thinking Presidency,” which would require the executive branch to offer real policy solutions rather than populist platitudes.

Join our conversation to hear Howell and Moe’s explanation of 21st-century populism. As always, your calls are welcome.


Benjamin Franklin once said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."