A study shows that US supporters of populism read and share the most junk news, muddying the waters of honest debate

In his nuggety little book What is Populism?, the Princeton academic Jan-Werner Müller suggests that populists reveal themselves when they try to deny the legitimacy of their political opponents or some of the citizenry: “What matters is populists’ anti-pluralism. They always exclude others … they claim to be the only legitimate representatives of the people and hence all others are at least morally excluded; and, less obviously … those who do not conform to the populists’ symbolic construction of the ‘real people’ are also shut out.” It is up to other politicians to hold the democratic line, Müller says. His analysis came to mind last week when Theresa May offered a kind of pep talk on democracy. She was in Manchester (birthplace of the Guardian) to mark 100 years since some women gained the vote.

For some it is becoming harder to disagree without also demeaning opposing viewpoints in the process

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