What Is Killing Latin American Populism?

The Exception to the Global Trend

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner throws flowers to pay homage to the fallen soldiers during the Falklands War in Ushuaia, April 2012. Facundo Santana / Reuters

For the last decade, populism has been the dominant political phenomenon across Latin America. The trend was relatively easy to disdain from afar, but then it crept onto the center stage in the most developed nations. 

When Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign in June 2015, Time derided it as a “marketing ploy” for his eponymous conglomerate; the Huffington Post relegated it to the entertainment pages. By September, his Republican rivals were openly mocking his foreign policy statement. Following the February 2016 New Hampshire primary, however, the joke turned sour. Now, far from contested, the upcoming Republican convention in Cleveland will be his crowning. Many of those who vowed “Never Trump” are bending the knee. And the latest polls in Florida and Ohio remind all that his message resonates with an electorate even more weary of the establishment than when it elected Barack Obama in the wake of the deepest economic crisis

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