The Corner

Politics & Policy

‘Dueling Populisms’

Jay, I enjoyed your remarks on Lloyd Blankfein and your conversation with Bob Costa. But I take issue with one point: the description of Donald Trump’s view of the world and Elizabeth Warren’s as “dueling populisms.” They are not dueling at all.

That Trump ad you quoted from could have been a Warren ad, word-for-word: “It’s a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth, and put that money into the pockets of large corporations and political entities.” Etc.

Neither Trump nor Warren is a populist, really. They are conspiracy theorists, and they believe in the same conspiracy theory. I spent yesterday at a flat-earther convention (more on that in a while!) and what struck me the most was the way that the rhetoric of conspiracy has become the normal mode of political discourse. The content of their obsessions may be different, but the mode of argument employed by the flat-earthers is exactly what you hear at a Bernie Sanders rally or on Sean Hannity’s programs.

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