The Personality Traits of Populist Leaders and Their Foreign Policies: Hugo Chávez and Donald Trump

Consuelo Thiers, Leslie E. Wehner

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Abstract

This paper seeks to advance the study of the nexus of populism and foreign policy by showing the connection between the personality traits of the leader and the foreign policy behavior of the state that they represent. It focuses on the political personality profiles of two populist leaders who can be characterized as antiplural, Hugo Chávez and Donald Trump, as a way to empirically further substantiate the recent research agenda on populism in world politics. The paper builds the two populist leaders’ political profiles through the use of the leader trait analysis approach. It contends that there are patterns in populist leaders’ personalities that can act as key drivers of their noncooperative and conflict-inducing behavior in foreign policy. The results show the characteristics that appear as the strongest predictors of their behavior in the international arena are their low task orientation and high focus on relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbersqab083
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Volume66
Issue number1
Early online date18 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2022

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