FROM POPULISTS TO PATRIOTS: LESSONS ON IDEOLOGICAL SHIFTS IN UNITED STATES POLITICS
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis essay offers a historical and political analysis of the origin of the concept of patriotism as a motivating force in modern conservative politics. To contextualize this politics, it examines two historical movements, the Populist party of the 1890s, and the Patriot Movement, which has been active since the 1980s. Both a theory of ideological shifts and demographic coalitions are analyzed, with the work of Cambridge Analytica serving as a case study in making ideological appeals. The primary ideological motivator of the Populist party is found to be modernity, which they used to motivate their leftist politics. The Patriot Movement is found to have multiple important anti-government ideological formations, including forms of libertarianism, racism, and patriotism. This analysis shows political coalitions are formed on the basis of ideological concepts, not on natural demographic alliances. These ideological formations can change rapidly, within the span of a generation, and give hope for new political possibilities in the near future.