The problem is that the "people" are not a monolith. Populism fails because, well, it really isn't "popular". Some are in favor of government--until it intrudes upon their life. Others want no government--until they need it.
This country is undergoing a fundamental crisis--between liberty and equality.Liberals say they want both, but are willing to sacrifice liberty so long as it improves equality. Conservatives are the exact opposite.Both are ultimately oppressive ideologies.
Populism=epic fail.Let's move away from such silly and obviously inaccurate terms and to a more nuanced, mature, discussion of American politics.