Category Archives: populism

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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social class does predict Trump support

Some say that Trump has captured the support of working-class Whites who are economically stressed or anxious. Others reply that Trump voters are relatively upscale but motivated by racial resentment alone. The former premise suggests that Democrats must do more to empower the working … Continue reading

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it’s hard to talk about tough issues if no organization represents you

I’m back from a great meeting in Chicago in which one theme was the need to have honest, productive conversations between people who might support Donald Trump and members or supporters of movements like Black Lives Matter. I’d note a major … Continue reading

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two kinds of populism

Last May, at a campaign rally, Donald Trump said, “the only important thing is the unification of the people – because the other people don’t mean anything.” Jan-Werner Müller quotes that phrase both in his book What is Populism? and in … Continue reading

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white working class alienation from government

In a recent long post, I argued that one reason white working class Americans are alienated from government is that they lack the productive political power that comes from organizations, such as political parties that rely on ordinary members, and unions. Moreover, because … Continue reading

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why the white working class must organize

It is inexcusable to vote for Donald Trump, a cruel and incompetent charlatan. To imply that anyone is justified in voting for him sets a patronizingly low standard. Our fellow Americans can do better than that. At the same time, Trump’s demographic base … Continue reading

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a political defense of Hamilton

The political theorists Jason Frank and Isaac Kramnick make the political case against Hamilton, the musical. In the debates among the founders, Alexander Hamilton was the elitist, the one with the most “contemptuous attitude toward the lower classes.” He was “perfectly … Continue reading

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the library of Albert Shanker

This is part of the library of Albert Shanker (1928-77), which lines the walls of the conference room of the Albert Shanker Institute, which is inside the American Federation of Teachers’ Building in Washington. I was there earlier today. It … Continue reading

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