Lessons from Europe and Latin America


Friday, Sept. 22, 2017
9:00 a.m. –  5:30 p.m.
Batts Hall (BAT) 5.108
University of Texas at Austin


You can watch the videos from our conference here:

Last November, populist candidate Donald Trump unexpectedly won the U.S. presidency. Not since Andrew Jackson has the United States had a populist leader as chief executive. Observers were therefore at a loss as to what to expect: How would Donald Trump govern, and with what consequences? Would the new president manage to maintain or further boost his support with his polarizing, confrontational strategy, or would the difficulty of fulfilling his “wild” campaign promises soon leave him ever more isolated and vulnerable? How can the opposition effectively respond to him? Last but not least, will Trump’s populism be contained by the checks and balances system, or will it damage democracy in the U.S.?

Given the U.S.’s fortunate inexperience with populism in government, country specialists have difficulty answering these questions. But many other nations, especially in Europe and Latin America, have had ample and long-standing experiences with populism.

This conference examines what lessons one can derive from populist movements and governments in foreign countries, such as those headed by Silvio Berlusconi, Hugo Chávez, Victor Orbán, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Marine Le Pen, and Carlos Menem. Can these experiences with populism help us understand the contours and likely repercussions of the Trump administration?