Populism at the polls: The challenges facing modern American conservatism

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22 August 2016


Law Foyer, New Law Building, The University of Sydney


Public forum

Brexit, Bernie, Trump and Turnbull: modern democracies are being challenged by populist politics and ambitious politicians are riding the wave of newly mobilised voters. In the United States, the threat of civil war within the Republican Party as it struggles with the balance of policy and populism is very real. What will the rise of Donald Trump mean for the party of ideas before and after the 2016 presidential election?

Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the US Ethics and Public Policy Center, discussed this and other challenges to modern American conservatism in conversation with Professor Simon Jackman, Chief Executive Officer, and Brendon O’Connor, associate professor in American politics at the United States Studies Centre.


  • Associate Professor Brendon O'Connor
    Associate Professor Brendon O'Connor
    Postgraduate Coordinator and Associate Professor in American Politics, United States Studies Centre (jointly appointed with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney)

    Brendon O'Connor is jointly appointed between the US Studies Centre and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney as an Associate Professor in American Politics. He is the editor of seven books on anti-Americanism and has also published articles and books on American welfare policy, presidential politics, US foreign policy and Australian-American relations.

  • Professor Simon Jackman
    Professor Simon Jackman

    Professor Simon Jackman was Chief Executive Officer of the United States Studies Centre from April 2016 to May 2022. Between 1996 and 2016, he was a Professor of Political Science and Statistics at Stanford University. Jackman's teaching and research centres on public opinion, election campaigns, political participation, and electoral systems with special emphasis on American and Australian politics.

  • Henry Olsen
    , Ethics and Public Policy Center

    Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, studies and provides commentary on American politics. His work focuses on how to address, consistent with conservative principles, the electoral challenges facing modern American conservatism.


Part of the series

Election Watch

Since 2008 the United States Studies Centre has been helping make sense of the US presidential elections with a series of events featuring Centre experts and visitors.

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