Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2021


This dissertation focuses on when and why political parties ‘talk like populists’—or use populist ideas, concepts, and frames to appeal to voters. By analyzing the campaign speeches and party manifestos of all parties contesting elections since 2002 in Austria, France, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, I find that parties’ use of populism is substantively linked to outsider or challenger status and does not appear to be a useful rhetoric for governing. Overall, I find that mainstream parties have not increased their populism in the last two decades while populist parties have decreased their reliance on populism in response to electoral success.