The Rise and Fall of Fact-Denying Populism (Trump, Bolsonaro, and Boris Johnson)

Business Insider: Angela Merkel [Chancellor of Germany] says that the coronavirus pandemic has exposed those who rely on ‘fact-denying populism’ as she criticised world leaders who promoted ‘lies and disinformation.’

‘We are seeing at the moment that the pandemic can’t be fought with lies and disinformation, and neither can it be with hatred and agitation,’ she said.

Merkel’s comments could be interpreted as a thinly-veiled swipe at leaders, including US President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who have both sought to downplay the dangers of the virus.

They say that people’s true colors come out during times of crisis and at no time has this been more apparent than during COVID-19. Recently there has been a big political shift away from facts and towards telling people what they want to hear.

And you’ve seen this rise in the U.S., Brazil, the U.K., and many other places. But COVID-19 is the exposé that this way of thinking has the potential to lead to chaos, economic instability, and widespread death.

Many people in the U.S. voted for Trump with the rationale of “what’s the worst that he could do.” Hopefully, the events during COVID-19 convince independent thinkers that it’s dangerous to vote people into office who ignore facts and experts.

I can only hope this is a turning point and not a sign of what’s to come.

Chart courtesy of JHU.

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Cam Woodsum
I started Need Change to write about important issues regarding society, politics, media, climate change, COVID-19, psychology, and racism. My work has been featured by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the U.S. & U.K. Governments. Keep reading to hear the perspective of someone who grew up in America, has lived in 15+ countries, and is deeply passionate about uniting humanity and improving the world. Feel free to click the chat in the bottom right if you ever want to talk! I'm friendly :).