The normalization of left populism? The paradigmatic case of Podemos

Samuele Mazzolini, Arthur Borriello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


After a hopeful electoral debut, left populism in Europe has undergone relative normalization. While the literature on new parties might regard the persistence of left populist forces as a success, we deem instead that such an outcome should be considered against the backdrop of the initial left populist hypothesis. Based on a discussion of the existing literature and ten semi-structured interviews with party members, this paper analyses the case of Podemos in Spain as a proxy to assess the fortunes of left populism in Europe at large. We describe its political trajectory and explain its failure to go mainstream by reference to the interplay between, at a macro level, the structure of political opportunities and, at a meso level, its interpretation of the populist strategy. In particular, we focus on the paradoxical effects of the representative void, on the specific and unfavorable mutations of the populist moment in Spain for Podemos, and its own organizational and strategic shortcomings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-300
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Politics and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Podemos
  • Political parties
  • Populism
  • Radical left
  • Spanish politics


Dive into the research topics of 'The normalization of left populism? The paradigmatic case of Podemos'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this