Attacks on liberals: a preparatory step for illiberal democracy?

From Brexit to Trump via Hungary, Russia and Brazil, there is a growing chorus of attacks against liberals and liberalism. “The ‘liberal elite’ are to blame” shout millionaires and hedge fund managers as they dig in to political power. The big question is, why does this new wave of populists define their opponents as ‘liberals’ and not just ‘wealthy’ elites? Could it be that these right-wing populists are attacking ‘liberals’ as a preparation for outright illiberalism?