Category Archives: populism

Democrats as technocrats

This web search takes you to a whole stack of good recent writing about the Democratic Party as the technocratic party, with headlines ranging from Twilight of the Technocrats? to The Triumph of the Technocrats. In lieu of a critical review, I’d pose … Continue reading

Posted in 2016 election, populism, revitalizing the left, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

the New Social Movements of the seventies, eighties, and today

(Oxford, OH) By the 1980s, a large literature distinguished the “New Social Movements” from older strands of politics. Jürgen Habermas chose to list the following New Social Movements then active in Germany: “the anti-nuclear and environmental movements,” “the peace movement”; “the … Continue reading

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three views of the Democratic Party when democracy is at risk

View #1: The same two parties have alternated power since 1854 and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Today, the most serious threat to small-d democratic norms and institutions comes from the Trump Administration, and the Democratic opposition is an essential … Continue reading

Posted in 2018 election, populism, Trump | Leave a comment

hearing the faint music of democracy

Democracy has many inherent flaws. This is just the start of a comprehensive list: Majority tyranny: the many may oppress the few. Free-riding: it doesn’t pay to be informed or active when you can let others engage instead. Propaganda: it works. … Continue reading

Posted in civic theory, populism | 1 Comment

fighting Trump’s populism with pluralist populism

In lieu of a substantive new post here today, I’ll link to an essay of mine on the Oxford University Press blog, “Fighting Trump’s populism with pluralist populism.” It concludes, “We need a dose of populism that neither delivers power to a … Continue reading

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Saturday’s democratic vistas

The ideal of democracy gets weak support today. Republican presidents from T.R. to George W. Bush presented the United States as a champion of democracy. But a current conservative talking point holds that the US is meant to be a republic, not … Continue reading

Posted in civic theory, populism | 2 Comments

responding to the deep story of Trump voters

(Washington, DC) This is Arlie Russell Hochschild’s now-famous “deep story” of Louisiana Tea Party supporters, their “account of life as it feels to them.” It’s become famous because it’s also the “deep story” of at least some Trump voters: You … Continue reading

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separating populism from anti-intellectualism

I’m a populist, yet I advocate the life of the mind. I’d like to see less elitism (of certain kinds) along with more intense and widespread intellectual inquiry. Unfortunately, the most prominent varieties of populism today are anti-intellectual. This is … Continue reading

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pluralist populism

The leaders of China, India, Russia, Turkey, Venezuela, and Hungary–plus the President Elect of the USA and major political actors in Britain, France, and Austria (among other countries)–are called “populists.” A populist in this sense is one who views The People as homogeneous … Continue reading

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we need SPUD (scale, pluralism, unity, depth)

Whether you’re building a social movement, organization, network, or media platform, you should strive for SPUD: Scale: You need a lot of people. For instance, if your social movement is anti-Trump, it must include 55% of all voting Americans in … Continue reading

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