Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Trump's Populism?

I’ve been very cautious around the word “populism” for a long time. I didn't really offer any opinions on it until it became the buzzword of 2016 due to the largely unexpected rise of Donald Trump, and I can't stand by all of them, as many were ill-informed.

What I feel comfortable saying about the subject now is this: People appear to variously call the same political phenomenon either “democracy” or “populism” depending on whether or not one likes the outcome.

I remain dubious of unfettered populism just as I am dubious of unfettered democracy. (Two wolves and a sheep and all that.) That said, our political tradition is steeped in benign populism.

The preamble of our Constitution opens, “We the People” while Lincoln’s most famous speech ends declaring “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

To the extent that Trump is a populist, it’s in the same vein as every other politician who appealed to the working and middle classes. Past that, Trump’s populist bona fides are questionable. Rather than parse, I’ll just point out that he’s not popular.

I realize that popularity is not usually included in definitions of populism, but if one considers the usual definitions—appealing to ordinary people and extolling common rights and values—an unpopular populist should cause pause.

If an alleged populist isn’t popular, it’s a sure sign that the label is being used for its pejorative qualities rather than for accuracy.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday, October 16, 2017

Candy Corn vs. Candy CaneCan

Epic Battle #2

Candy Corn (left) vs. Candy Cane (right) ©2017 tryanmax