During the Great Depression of the 1930s, many people in Europe and North America turned to populist radical and left-wing parties, while many others turned to populist nationalist and racist parties.
The first group blamed their troubles on the wealthy elite and a failed capitalist system. The second group blamed their troubles on foreigners, minorities and a failed democratic system.
There were exceptions and overlaps, but I think these broad distinctions apply. Nationalism and racism are a way of diverting public discontent away from bankers and landlords.
We have the same two kinds of populism today. In Europe, we see Jeremy Corbyn in Great Britain, Podemos in Spain and Syriza in Greece, and, on the other hand, the United Kingdom Independence Party, the National Front in France and Viktor Orban in Hungary.
Here in the USA, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are left-wing populists and Donald Trump is a right-wing populist.
Many liberals think the way to stop Trump is to cling to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment rather than risking a vote for Sanders.
Many conservatives also fear Trump and may vote for Clinton if the Republican establishment fails to produce a plausible candidate.
But in fact, the only way to stop a right-wing populist such as Donald Trump is to do something about the economic crisis, which makes large numbers of people turn to someone like him.
He at least has answers—maybe bad answers, but more appealing than the argument that it’s unrealistic to hope for change for the better. The same is true of his counterparts in other countries.
Playing with fear from The Economist.