Yeah, it’s The Guardian. Whatever. The consistent and global nature in the rise in populist rhetoric over the past decade is self-evident.
This means that the forces driving these trends should be global as well.
I think it really boils down to three big things:
(1) The Internet was first adopted by educated, higher IQ young people – all factors associated with greater liberalism. Then the less well-educated and lower IQ started joining, with their greater populist sympathies. This broke the “centrist” hold of the TV channels; since most people are conformists, they tend to cluster on ideologically aligned platforms (“enclave extremism“). One of the most significant results was the appearance of huge populist constituencies; in the West, these have been predominantly right-wing ones, as the Left became similarly radicalized and retreated into identity politics.
(2) Specific to the developed world: Poorer-educated, lower-IQ blue collar workers were the hardest hit by globalization; while the transnational oligarchs and the developing world (esp. China) benefited tremendously, and the Western middle classes also did quite well for themselves (budget airlines! Uber! Airbnb!), the Fishtowns saw minimal material gains and outright social regress.
(3) Specific to the developing world: The more religious and populist minded peasants have been flooding into the cities, replacing their higher IQ and more Europeanized, but low fertility old elites. With old school Marxism discredited, and globalist SJWism not yet having made major inroads, various flavors of populist-nationalism and/or religious revival are the natural result of this.
Put in these terms, the rise of populism seems inevitable in hindsight.
Of course it represents a challenge to the old order, especially in the West where neoliberal elites are strongly entrenched. But they couldn’t exactly blame the highest achievements and symbols of their civilization – the global Internet and economic globalization – for it. So you need to blame something or someone else.
That would leave China and Russia as the most feasible alternative culprits.
But China is far too central to the smooth running of globalism, so Russia it was fated to be so long as it didn’t fully fall into the Western orbit.