Comment | Published:

Measuring populist discourse in the United States and beyond

Nature Human Behaviourvolume 2pages241242 (2018) | Download Citation


Many have argued that populism dominated the 2016 US presidential election. Textual analysis of electoral discourse in the United States, Greece and Venezuela suggests that the overall level of populism in the US election was in fact moderate. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump engaged in populist discourse, but Trump lacked consistency.

Additional access options:

Already a subscriber?  Log in  now or  Register  for online access.


  1. 1.

    Ostiguy, P. & Roberts, K. M. Brown J. World Aff. 23, 25–50 (2016).

  2. 2.

    Mudde, C. & Rovira Kaltwasser, C. Populism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, 2017).

  3. 3.

    The transcript of Bernie Sanders’s victory speech. The Washington Post (10 February 2016);

  4. 4.

    Trump, D. Closing campaign speech (Detroit, MI, 8 November 2016);

  5. 5.

    White, E. M. Teaching and Assessing Writing (Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, 1985).

  6. 6.

    Hawkins, K. Comp. Polit. Stud. 42, 1040–1067 (2009).

  7. 7.

    Bonikowski, B. & Gidron, N. Soc. Forces 94, 1593–1621 (2016).

  8. 8.

    Mascaro, L. Trump speechwriter Stephen Miller, a Santa Monica High grad, pens address for President’s Middle East visit. Los Angeles Times (19 May 2017).

  9. 9.

    van Hauwaert, S. & van Kessel, S. Eur. J. Polit. Res. 57, 68–92 (2017).

  10. 10.

    Rahn, W. & Oliver, E. Ann. Am. Acad. Pol. Soc. Sci. 667, 189–206 (2016).

Download references

Author information


  1. Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA

    • Kirk A. Hawkins
  2. Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile

    • Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser


  1. Search for Kirk A. Hawkins in:

  2. Search for Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser in:

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kirk A. Hawkins.

About this article

Publication history



Rights and permissions

To obtain permission to re-use content from this article visit RightsLink.