The Populist Name Game: About Populism and Naming

Uri Kidron*, Piki Ish-Shalom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For populist leaders, naming is an important political tool, helping them to consolidate their leadership while harming the legitimacy of their opponents. The article offers a theoretical framework explaining populist tactical uses of naming; how they name and misname their opponents. The explanation locates the naming tactics within the overall populist framework as a thin-centered ideology. The following three naming tactics are described and analyzed: (1) coining ridiculing nicknames, (2) appropriating existing nicknames, and (3) avoiding the opponent’s name. To substantiate the theoretical arguments, we discursively analyze these three tactics, as were employed by the former US president, Donald Trump, the prime minister of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalPolitical Studies Review
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • Donald Trump
  • Vladimir Putin
  • discourse analysis
  • naming
  • populism


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