The Roots of Right-Wing Populism: Donald Trump in 2016

Thomas Ferguson*, Benjamin I. Page, Jacob Rothschild, Arturo Chang, Jie Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Using survey data from the American National Election Study (ANES) and aggregate data on Congressional districts, this article assesses the roles that economic and social factors played in Donald J. Trump’s 2016 “populist” presidential candidacy. It shows the hollowness of claims that economic issues played little or no role. While agreeing that racial resentment and sexism were important factors, the article shows how various economic considerations helped Trump win the Republican nomination and then led significant blocs of voters to shift from supporting Democrats or abstaining in 2012 to vote for him. It also presents striking evidence of the importance of political money and Senators’ “reverse coattails” in the final result.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-123
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Political Economy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020


  • 2016 presidential election
  • Donald Trump
  • free trade
  • international economic policy
  • political economy
  • political money
  • political parties
  • populism
  • voting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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