By Ron Paul
"Populism" was one of the big buzzwords of this election cycle. It was largely attached to the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, with both candidates referred to as "populists" despite having distinctly different political philosophies. Still, they both used the approach -- with success -- to tap into the deep dissatisfaction of the average American voter. For Donald Trump, populism has paid off well: In a shock to the political establishment, Trump has ridden populism straight to the White House. But we must understand what populism is really all about.
Populism has traditionally been understood to include trade protectionism, low interest rates, and government welfare to the poor and middle classes. The philosophy is meant to appeal to the common person, as opposed to establishment elites. Populism has historically seen a revival when economic conditions have deteriorated for the average person while the elites continue to prosper.