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A clear-eyed guide to demagoguery—and how we can defeat it
What is demagoguery? Some demagogues are easy to spot: They rise to power through pandering, charisma, and prejudice. But, as professor Patricia Roberts-Miller explains, a demagogue is anyone who reduces all questions to us vs. them.
Why is it dangerous? Demagoguery is democracy’s greatest threat. It erodes rational debate, so that intelligent policymaking grinds to a halt. The idea that we never fall for it—that all the blame lies with them—is equally dangerous.
How can we stop it? Demagogues follow predictable patterns in what they say and do to gain power. The key to resisting demagoguery is to name it when you see it—and to know where it leads.