Populists pretend to represent “the people” and many citizens seem to fall for them. Besides their aggressive rhetoric that splits society, they pursue a sinister agenda.
Politicians, journalists, philosophers and political scientists do not seem to easily turn the tide with their analysis, explanations, proposals and strategies. Their arguments seem to be too complex, in today’s deafening political climate, for many citizens to understand what is at stake.
The reality is that democratic political stakeholders do not easily get through to citizens.
The solution to stop populism is the citizen
The citizen is in the center of reducing the growing wave of populism. This might surprise many because populists always put forward “the people”. But this will be the exact argument that will be their downfall.
This should not be surprising because citizens in their entirety are sovereign, the ultimate rulers in a democracy. All power comes from the people and is for the people.
In particular, what will defeat populism are the constitution and civil rights, the citizen’s rights guaranteed by the constitution. To be clear:
What is the most important function of the constitution?
The constitution protects the citizen from politicians
While a constitution defines many aspects of statehood and political life, how do we know this is the case?
Human rights, fundamental rights, civil rights are the guiding, overriding principle of the constitution, and limit rights given to any representative or institution.
How do we know that citizen rights take absolute priority over the rights and power of elected officials?
The people, the citizens in their entirety, the voters are the ultimate sovereign. They can only delegate very limited power to officials and institutions that remains confined by the citizen‘s rights.
Citizens cannot give away their inalienable rights that protect them from politicians, to politicians who might abuse them.
What constitutional rights protect citizens from politicians?
The predominant civil rights that protect citizens and democracy are an independent justice and a free press.
How to expose a populist who wants to defraud the citizen?
Populists will attack and undermine the citizen’s rights for an independent justice and a free press. An attack on the citizen’s rights is nothing less than an attack on the citizen.
Politicians who attack an independent justice and a free press overstep their job description. They act beyond their pay grade.
Populists transgress their limited constitutional rights to be a representative.
Because the populists’ aim is gleichschaltung, they are a danger for democracy, and are not legitimate candidates to be elected by citizens, or remain in office.