September 11, 2017
Are there parallels between the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and the rise of “caudillos”—strongmen—in Latin America, and if so, why? Those are some of the questions that will be posed and discussed on Sept. 25 by Orlando J. Pérez, visiting lecturer for Washington College’s Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs, in a talk called “The New Caudillos: Popular Support for Democracy and Authoritarianism in the Americas.”
Free and open to the public, the event starts at 7 p.m. in Hynson Lounge.Many scholars of Latin American politics have noted the similarities between Trump’s rise and that of numerous Latin American caudillos. Trump’s appeal to law and order, nationalism, protectionism, and populist politics parallels that of many so-called strongmen, who typically disparage political institutions, are often political outsiders, and exploit racial and ethnic grievances. They mobilize disenchanted voters who feel “left behind,” promising to act decisively to “fix the country.”
Why do voters support such strongmen? This talk attempts to provide some answers using data from the 2016 post-election American National Elections Survey (ANES) survey and from several rounds of the Americas Barometer, a survey conducted by the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) at Vanderbilt University.
Orlando J. Pérez is Associate Dean, College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. His teaching and research interests include comparative politics, Latin American politics, U.S.-Latin American relations, civil-military relations, public opinion and empirical democratic theory. He is the author of Civil-Military Relations in Post-Conflict Societies: Transforming the Role of the Military in Central America (Routledge, 2015); The Historical Dictionary of El Salvador (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016); and Political Culture in Panama: Democracy after Invasion (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011). He is co-editor (with Richard Millett and Jennifer Holmes) of Latin American Democracy: Emerging Reality or Endangered Species? 2nd edition (Routledge, 2015). He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pittsburgh. He has served as coordinator for Panama and Honduras for the Americas Barometer of the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) at Vanderbilt University.
About the Goldstein Program
Established in 1990, the Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs sponsors lectures, symposia, and visiting fellows, student participation in models and conferences, and other projects that bring students and faculty together with leaders experienced in developing public policy. It has hosted journalists, political activists, foreign policy analysts, diplomats, military commanders, and government officials of both national and international stature. Christine Wade, Associate professor of political science and international studies, is its current curator.