Résumé : Abstract A common explanation for the success of populists is that they rhetorically shift blame for their followers' hardships toward “elites,” therefore creating a culpable outgroup. However, we argue that there are two confounded effects at play here: shifting blame toward an outgroup and shifting blame away from oneself. Therefore, we theorize that above and beyond elite blame, victimization rhetoric heightens leader support because it specifically relieves followers of the pressure of having to take responsibility for negative life outcomes, especially when they subscribe to neoliberal competition ideology. Supporting our predictions, we show via a survey that victim rhetoric increases leader support while controlling for elite blame, especially among people subscribing to neoliberal competition ideology. In a subsequent experiment, we replicate the findings causally and show that the effect works by reducing perceived personal responsibility for negative life outcomes. Our results indicate that populist rhetoric involves shifting blame toward others and away from oneself. This can explain some of the conundrums that have plagued the literature, such as why elites also fall for populist rhetoric. We discuss our findings in relation to cultural differences and differences in left‐ versus right‐wing populism.