cry out for a populist's passion

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Moon Palace

Senior Member
French
Hello everyone :),

I have trouble understanding this phrase in the following sentence: I know it should mean something is necessary, but it strikes me as weird here. Is there any chance it could mean "rely on / is based on"?

" But if ever there was a presidential campaign that cried out for a populist’s passion, this is it."
Context : the author of this article describes B. Obama's campaign (long before he was elected), and depicts him as a "flat" candidate, without passion or fire.

Thanks in advance for your precious help.
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Hello MP,

    Here is a paraphrase:

    " But if ever there was a presidential campaign that cried out for a populist’s passion, this is it." ~ If ever there were a presidential campaign with a great need for the passion (or passionate style) of a populist, this is one is it.
     

    Moon Palace

    Senior Member
    French
    Thanks a lot, Cuchu. :) This is what I believe I had understood from the meaning of "cry out for", but somehow I couldn't come to terms with the idea thereby expressed :eek: and therefore thought I had missed something.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    ... somehow I couldn't come to terms with the idea thereby expressed :eek: and therefore thought I had missed something.
    I wonder why this idea seemed strange to you. Is it your understanding of what populist means?
     

    Moon Palace

    Senior Member
    French
    Well, maybe I am influenced by the French meaning of the word (basically the same word, same root), because in French, in the context of politics, it refers to a politician (or a trend) that is akin to a demagogue, willing to appear close to the people and trying to seduce them by an appealing manifesto.
    But thanks for your question Cagey, because I have checked its meaning in English and found out that it is not always the case in English, and can merely mean "close to ordinary people".

    Sorry for my hasty reaction which was based on a mistake, and thanks for pointing this to me. :)
     

    lux_

    Senior Member
    Well, maybe I am influenced by the French meaning of the word (basically the same word, same root), because in French, in the context of politics, it refers to a politician (or a trend) that is akin to a demagogue, willing to appear close to the people and trying to seduce them by an appealing manifesto.
    But thanks for your question Cagey, because I have checked its meaning in English and found out that it is not always the case in English, and can merely mean "close to ordinary people".

    Sorry for my hasty reaction which was based on a mistake, and thanks for pointing this to me. :)
    It's the same in Italian.
    I think our word, indeed, would be "demagogic", which I guess exists as well in our languages.

    But I would like to ask to the English speakers: is for you the word "populist" at all akin to "demagogic"? In the examples provided above it could actually fit...
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Speaking for myself, here in the States:

    If I wanted to accuse someone of playing to the crowd's baser instincts, I would call that person demagogic. I would never use demagogic to describe a positive attribute, as populist is in the sentence under discussion.

    On the other hand, populist can be a positive, a neutral, or a derogatory term, depending on your political point of view. For some people, the idea of representing the interests of the people as a whole, particularly people who do not themselves have political power, is a good thing, and populist is positive. This is the use in the original sentence.

    To others, populist represents a lowering of standards, or an insincere pandering in order to achieve political power. For these people, populist amounts to a nicer way to say demagogic. To my ear, populist does not sound as derogatory as demagogic, though it can be used to refer to the same thing.
     
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