Populist ‘earthquakes’ appear to have become the norm in western democracies. Since the French Front National, UKIP and the Dansk Folkeparti (DF) won the 2014 European elections in their countries, there has been a growing sentiment amongst the elite that the rise of the populist right is irresistible. This appears to have been confirmed by the ‘shock’ of Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election. More recently, Norbert Hofer managed to appeal to 47% of the vote in the second round of the Austrian presidential election, while the rejection of a referendum in Italy was touted as a victory for the populist Five Star Movement. However, this article, based on more extensive research (Glynos and Mondon 2016, Mondon 2015, 2017), argues that the focus on right-wing populism only uncovers part of the deeper crisis currently faced by western democracies, and could prove counterproductive to those hoping to revive more progressive sentiments within the electorate and the population.