In election time and political season, the terms demagoguery and populism are a classic to use . But, is there a difference between these gift concepts? Is using the word demagoguery the same as populism? And above all, in what circumstances should one and the other be used .

The definitions of each term are as follows: demagoguery is understood to be any political practice that focuses on delving into the feelings of the population in order to gain their support in this way , while, what we call populism , refers to the way in which rhetoric is used, to seek to encourage the wishes of citizens with the sole purpose of getting their help . That is, the first seeks to attract others to their own interests through lies and utopian proposals that are difficult or impossible to achieve. Among the elements that are part of demagogy play a very important roletake data out of context or manipulate information among many others.

Demagoguery in political practice

Demagoguery is considered by many experts to be a degeneration of democracy itself . Why? Because many rulers access their positions of power through free voting decided by citizens, and for this, they have exercised their right to vote guided by the fallacies of politicians . Therefore, a demagogue candidate is imposed on the rest not because of his electoral program or because of his great proposals, but because he awakens some kind of feeling in the people. A demagogic candidate does not appeal to the rational.

It should also be taken into account that there are several types of demagoguery , since it can occur and manifest itself in different ways. The first of the ways is through fallacies , with contradictory arguments that can mislead citizens. The second is by manipulating the word, providing different contexts and additional meanings to what is being expressed. The third is through the omission of certain information , the fourth by constantly modifying the arguments . The fifth with dismissal tactics, which consists of taking the discussion to a subject that is mastered to perfection. The sixth with hypotheses that do not reflect reality , the seventh associating a group of people or other parties with negative connotations. And the eighth and last, through the false dichotomy , where only two unique points of view are presented as the only possible options.

Populism as a political trend

In politics the term populism is used to refer to all those movements that reject the classic and traditional parties , and that are united to the ruling classes. Populism tends in its discourse to continually appeal to the people, understanding the people as unprivileged social classes . In other words, a populist leader will always show himself to the public as a humble candidate. For many years, populism was coined to the parties of the left. Furthermore, populist groups are not considered a homogeneous group, as they show various differences on both political and economic issues.

Populism from its most negative and pejorative meaning is destined to win the sympathy and trust of the population, especially if they have the right to vote. However, from the positive point of view , populism can give voice to all those people who do not feel represented by any party, it has the power to mobilize excluded sectors of society and integrate them into the system and improve the response capacity of political practice.

Therefore, and as a conclusion, we can say that the concepts of populism and demagoguery are used interchangeably , since in both cases, reference is made to the intention of convincing the people with ideas that actually hide hidden interests. For its part, the term populism is quite timeless , that is, it is used in politics at any time. However, it is another way of carrying out politics based on propaganda , where the charisma of its leader is of great importance , who knows perfectly well how to tell the people what they need to hear. No party is openly populist, since it has always been a concept linked to a negative meaning .

While a political demagogue has the sole objective of advancing the ideas that interest him . Their tactics are generally based on constantly flattering the people and bringing them back to their territory. Generally, demagogues have a tendency to become corrupt politicians , who easily give in to bribes, since they are only interested in power and having a status in society . Turning politics into a mere competition where only power is sought, instead of it becoming the necessary tool to help citizens. 

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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