Roman statue Barbara Sax | getty images

La Antigua Roma de Donald Trump

DECORAH, IOWA – El populismo tiene una larga y colorida trayectoria en la política estadounidense, desde figuras como Huey Long por la izquierda y George Wallace por la derecha hasta, más recientemente, Ross Perot en 1992 y Donald Trump en la actualidad. Pero sus raíces se hunden mucho más profundamente en el tiempo: por más de dos milenios hasta el inicio del fin de la República Romana.

Durante gran parte de su historia, la República Romana fue gobernada por las tradicionales familias políticas y agentes de poder confiables que sabían cómo mantener a las masas a raya. Había elecciones, pero estaban diseñadas deliberadamente que las clases dirigentes obtuvieran la mayor parte del voto popular. Si la aristocracia romana, que votaba primero, elegía a un hombre para un cargo, los funcionarios a menudo ni siquiera se molestaban en contar los votos de las clases inferiores.

En algunas ocasiones, había levantamientos de arrieros de burros, granjeros y taberneros disgustados, que presionaban a sus gobernantes para aliviar sus deudas y hacerse escuchar realmente en el gobierno, pero esas revueltas eran rápidamente sofocadas con promesas de un mejor porvenir y contratando a unos pocos gladiadores fuera de servicio para convencer con palizas a los más problemáticos. A fines del Siglo II aC, los aristocráticos hermanos Graco trataron de impulsar una revolución política desde adentro, pero solo lograron que la nobleza conservadora los asesinara.

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