The roots of populism stretch back to the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic. The man who ultimately brought down the system was a wealthy and ambitious nobleman named Publius Clodius Pulcher, a populist demagogue who refused to play by the rules. The more audacious his behavior, the more the public loved him for it. The ruling classes stood by dazed and helpless as control of the state they had run for centuries slipped from their hands.
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