© The Author(s) 2020. This article argues that multipronged de-democratization processes over the course of neoliberal projects fostered unstable democratic equilibria in Western and Latin American democracies, opening space for populist leaders and parties to emerge. To comprehend the variation in the nature of populists that gained support, the form of neoliberalization process in each region and the consequent impacts on traditional party systems is accounted for. Moreover, the impact of region-specific factors on populist forms such as economic crises, immigration levels, and the existence of progressive social movements are accounted for. The conflux of neoliberal de-democratization, austerity, and immigration fostered a conservative nativist-populism in Western cases. In Latin America, neoliberal de-democratization and austerity, in the presence of powerful popular movements, witnessed the emergence of a more progressive populism.