n. A political movement in which a wealthy individual offers ideas and policies that appeal to the common person.
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Why has this happened? The answer is that this is how a wealthy donor class, dedicated to the aims of slashing taxes and shrinking the state, obtained the footsoldiers and voters it required. This, then, is “pluto-populism”: the marriage of plutocracy with rightwing populism.
—Martin Wolf, “Donald Trump embodies how great republics meet their end,” Financial Times, March 01, 2016
—“Plutopopulism: wooing the American worker,” The Economist, May 28, 2015
Based on traditional patron-client relationships and the remaining big income gap between mostly rural poor and limited mostly urban middle classes, "pluto-populism" and "pork-barrelling" have become prominent features of party politics everywhere.
—Wolfgang Sachsenröder, “New Overview Paper: Party Financing in Southeast Asia,” Political Party Forum Southeast Asia, August 28, 2013
1997 (earliest)
Does the crumbling of the Soviet Union, accomplished more or less peacefully, invalidate or con?rm the notion of totalitarianism? Did it perish along with the other great all-inclusive ideologies or might it be reborn in other forms, as for example a media-based pluto-populism?
—Pierre Hassner, “Violence and Peace: From the Atomic Bomb to Ethnic Cleansing,” Oxford University Press, March 27, 1997
The pluto- part of this timely term is short for plutocrat, a member of the plutocracy, "government or rule by the wealthy" (a word that dates to at least 1631). The pluto- prefix comes from the Greek plouto, "wealth, riches." The Oxford English Dictionary speculates that this is a variant of the Greek term plein, "to swim, float, … to flow, hence to abound." If true, then it adds etymological truth to the phrase "swimming in money."
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