Department of Political Science
University of Maine
Populism undoubtedly has a long history in the politics of the United States, but this history is too often fuzzy around the edges. Additionally, what exactly is meant by “populism” is frequently ambiguous and ill-defined. Finally, the significance of populism in the American political experience is left largely unexplored, even in those instances where the phenomenon itself is relatively clearly identified and explained. The larger project of which this paper is the initial component aims to address these intellectual and empirical shortcomings. In this paper, I engage in an examination of the substance of populism in American politics. The paper closes with a very preliminary gauge of possible support for populism in the electorate using the American National Election Studies.