Populism Is the Other Socialism
Thomas Frank explains how oligarchs have given populism a bad name with those of us who might embrace it:
An so the “left” is prevented from joining with the “right” by being given something to keep each in a permanent tizzy. Each side fears the other. Each side is kept from recognizing vast common ground they share.
This election has proved that the issues that “loser” Bernie Sanders ran on for the Democrat Party nomination were more popular than the Democrats themselves. Fight for Fifteen, legalized marijuana and other Sanders issues passed in states where Democrats themselves lost.
HA! Take that Democrats, you manipulative rats!
Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
And yet the media can reach down into our very souls and have us absolutely retching in revulsion with a few images of what we associate with populism or socialism. This alienation didn’t begin this century or even the last, but in the Nineteenth Century when populism arose as a response to the first Gilded Age. Frank explains how we have gone from a Jeffersonian vision of the letting those who aren’t products of elite schooling and upbringing to have a voice as opposed to a Hamiltonian vision where elites rule.
Frank argues that Trump’s faux populism allowed him to co-opt those dissatisfied with the status quo which explains his relative popularity. Democrats condemned populism which offered people the voice we no longer have in our government. This left the GOP a opening to get the support of the disaffected.
The link leads to a transcript and a podcast of Frank being interviewed by Robert Scheer. I leave it to you to visit the link to hear his view of populism. His argument is compelling and explains how oligarchs has manipulated our emotions by charging both socialism and populism with negative associations.