Calling a politician a 'Populist' has a clear pejorative sense to it. In Europe and the US, I learn from the latest of New Books In History, the exact taste to the word is a bit different though. The historic meaning also. Populism was a serious wave in American politics in the late nineteenth, early twentieth century. Marshal Poe interviews Charles Postel about who the Populists were and what their politics was all about.
The populists were the last third party that had a serious role in American politics. They were strongly present in the rural areas of the US. Though one may expect they were rather conservative, they turn out quite modernistic. The reason they were against (certain) great corporations was much more complicated than blatant anti-capitalism that some other political streams are attributed with.
The populists were modern in some socialist and cooperative senses. They were also the stream that was the most favorable to women's emancipation. What more Postel shows us they stood for, made them dissolve into the Democratic Party over the course of the 1920's and 30's.
Two great shows on New Books In History,
Two old and one New Books In History,
The latest in New Books in History,