Edward Ashbee
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The populist tradition and the American state
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Populism has a particular place within the US political tradition. In the post-war period alone, there have been recurrent right-wing populist insurgencies. In the US, right-wing populism has been a recurrent and ingrained feature of the political process over a long period. In particular, the structural characteristics of the contemporary American state, and the ways in which these are perceived and understood by large numbers of people, particularly within the white population, add to and build upon long-held resentments about the legitimate place and efficacy of government. This chapter provides a detailed account of the structural characteristics of the American state that appear to be of particular significance in the shaping of attitudes. The structural characteristics explain why right-wing populism has been a significant and enduring feature of twentieth- and twenty-first century US politics and why populist attitudes can come to the forefront of politics.

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