Cory Leonard

Archive for May, 2017|Monthly archive page

Fruits of American Populism

In Uncategorized on May 6, 2017 at 2:10 am

In an intriguing piece today Damon Linker sees America’s flavor of Republican populism as a strain of “anti-statist liberalism” that, unlike in Europe, could lead to an entirely different resolution, we revolution. 

He compares France’s election as the equivalent of Michael Bloomberg (independent) versus Trump. 

And yet, for a complicated set of reasons, America’s populist energies managed to gain political power in 2016 not by challenging the country’s two-party establishment from the outside or by taking over the Democratic Party but rather by rising up through the institutional structure of the Republican Party. If this had been a genuine political coup, overthrowing the GOP’s libertarian convictions from the inside of the party and replacing them with a commitment to helping the voters who elected Donald Trump to the presidency, the result might have been a coherent populism. But what we got instead was a blatant, self-destructive contradiction: Populist anger propelled Republicans to victory at all levels of government, but once in office they immediately began enacting a libertarian agenda that is bound to stoke even greater anger, and provoke an even greater populist revolt in the not-too-distant future.

Via The Week