A populist is either a member of a political party ‘claiming’ to represent the common people or a believer in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people. In 1891, the populist political party represented agrarian interests advocating the free coinage of silver and government control of monopolies.
Note: Anyone can be a populist. Rush Limbaugh drinks $300 bottles of wine and vacations in the south of France, and he’s a populist. The Koch brothers are two of the ten richest Americans, and they’re populists. Rand Paul is a goldbug, and he’s a populist. And Trump, also, sold himself as being a populist. A common theme among populists is that they define themselves as being opposite of the Elitist Other [meanwhile, elitists define their work as being in opposition to the populist’s folk understanding of their lives — it’s a chicken-and-egg problem: a race to the bottom to see which are the biggest idiots].