The Populists were the most successful third- party in US history. They were able to draw attention to the problems of economic progress, like deflation, and they laid the ground work for future progressive movements. In addition to influencing future movements, they were able to elect three governors, five state senators, and 1,500 members of state legislatures in the 1892 election. As the country expanded west, the railroads grew and with their size, so did their prices. With farmers relying on the railroads to transport their crops, they had no where to go except the overpriced railroads. In response, the Populists demanded government control of the railroads; in hopes that railroads would then be cheaper and harder for owners to abuse. They succeeded in passing a number of regulations, although the government never took over the railroad. The changes in power was on a state level, the national level was mostly unsuccessful.
They were criticized for a romanticized view of farm life while ignoring the reality of necessary industrialization. In addition, they were also isolated to the West and the South, so they lacked national appeal. They relied on racism and social and ethnic tensions to gain support in the South