The unimaginable has happened. The world’s most powerful nation will soon be lead by an erratic, politically inexperienced clown. The question that is on everybody’s mind is what this clown will actually do as president. One can only guess. Many of us think other Western countries will follow America’s example in voting populists into power. After Brexit and Trump, anything is possible. It seems nothing is able to stop the rise of the populists. If we really want to defeat populists, we have to fight them with their own weapon: populism.
The invocation of Plato in any article about Donald Trump might seem misplaced to most readers. How does one of the most brilliant philosophers of all times relate to an unqualified, opportunistic US presidential candidate? What can Plato possibly say about the current mess of American politics? Are we really so desperate that we have to fall back on philosophy? However odd, part of the public debate has turned to the ancient Greek philosopher in order to explain the unanticipated popularity of Trump – and with it the rise of populism in Europe and the US. Democracy may eventually lead to tyranny, as Plato argues, but it is even more interesting to see how he would prevent this process in the first place.