This chapter examines the tension between leadership and democratic psychology. Throughout history, democracies have struggled against both populism and elitism, often in the form of individuals who present themselves as potential leaders. Some of this tension is productive, but much is not. Taken too far, the passions and emotions characteristic of democracy can end by weakening it. Political communities need good leaders, but not all forms of political organization are equally hospitable to the leadership they need. There is a perennial worry that democracy and leadership are fundamentally at odds. Leadership comes into conflict not with the principle of democracy but with its psychology, and one aspect of this psychology is populism. On the other hand, the experience of democratic life can produce a stance diametrically opposed to populist resentment—namely, elitist arrogance.
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