Looking back at extreme-right politics in France in the 1940s and 1950s provides
new perspectives on contemporary populism. Stanley Hoffmann’s analyses of
support for the Vichy regime and for the Poujade movement emphasized how
populist politics flourished in times when major segments of the population felt
thwarted in efforts to have their interests and views represented in government.
Attempts to explain populism by the economic or cultural characteristics of individuals
are insufficient. As Hoffmann suggested, it is the political failure of parties
and interest groups to channel the grievances and demands of the “losers” of
globalization into policy arenas that fuels the rise of populism today.