When Ecuador held an election to choose their next president in mid-February, candidate Lenín Moreno had a clear advantage over the seven other contenders, with over 10% more of the vote than the runner-up, Guillermo Lasso. But when Moreno’s final share of the vote, at 39.36%, came up just short of the 40% needed to win, it became clear that a runoff election would be needed. Suddenly a victory by Moreno was not such a sure thing, and polls started to point to a possible triumph by rival Lasso.
It has been a while since a strikingly populist candidate has been a major contender in a presidential election in the United States. Many think of William Jennings Bryan, the three-time nominee of the democratic party at the end of the 1800s, as one of the only other strongly populist presidential candidates in American history (Ramone, 2010). President Trump’s campaign can fairly be described as populist through his rhetoric against the elites on Capitol Hill, his appeal to working class voters, and most importantly his outsider status as a non-politician.