National Populism

The biggest reason to oppose Trump is that he is not a conservative nor a real Republican, even though in the eyes of his supporters the latter is a benefit. It is time to take a serious look at what Trumpism really is and why is not just a threat to Republicans but America itself.

I got into a Twitter exchange with an individual who actually defended fascism when he tweeted out brilliant thoughts like,

“And fascism is bad why exactly?... I would like to hear your input on why fascism is bad. I feel the word Nazi might be involved.. and more often than not fascism needs to be supported by a nationalistic populism. But nationalist doesn't = racist… capitalism allows the rich to get grossly richer and the poor to pay for the poor…all profits from these corps are put into social programs and welfare. Unlike the tax based system we have now…corporations in a fascist state are ALLOWED to exist only for the sole purpose of benefiting the public.”

Let these words sink in as you are now seeing what both the Democratic Party and Trumpism is evolving into; a Democratic socialist or as National populist movement that is independent of constitutional rule and limited government. Trump may have conservative ideas but unlike Bernie Sanders, he has no strongly held beliefs and what he believes today, he will change tomorrow or even in an hour depending upon the circumstance. Trump has been consistent on one view point, trade policy and protectionism. He is not just building a wall to keep out illegal immigrants but he is building a trade wall to keep out foreign goods. His attack on Wall Street and companies who move factories overseas are no different than what you will hear from Bernie Sanders. As previously noted, Trump’s views have included many leftist ideas like taxing the rich, single payer for health care, imposing gun controls and taking pro-abortion positions.

Peggy Noonan wrote,

“The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully. The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time . . . They are figures in government, politics and media. They live in nice neighborhoods, safe ones. Their families function, their kids go to good schools, they’ve got some money. All of these things tend to isolate them, or provide buffers. Some of them—in Washington it is important officials in the executive branch or on the Hill; in Brussels, significant figures in the European Union—literally have their own security details. Because they are protected they feel they can do pretty much anything, impose any reality. They’re insulated from many of the effects of their own decisions.”

Trump is promising to protect the unprotected against the political class and the successful who control the lever of economic power.

Reihan Salam, a noted conservative reformer, declared that Trump is destroying the Republican Party and he can add the conservative movement when he wrote in Slate,

“Though the rise of Trump has taken almost everyone by surprise, we really should have seen it coming. America has been long overdue for something like Trumpism. In the years since the financial crisis, populist insurgencies have devastated mainstream parties of the center right and center left in virtually every market democracy. Barack Obama’s rhetorical gifts mask the many ways in which he is a deeply conventional political figure, a man who trusts the wisdom of technocrats rather than seeking to overturn the established order. One could argue that the Obama presidency rescued America’s upper classes from a more ferocious post-crisis backlash, at least for a time. The twin insurgencies of Trump and Sanders demonstrate that the anger is still there—that it was just waiting for the right person to conjure it up. What separates the two politicians is that Sanders is in tune with the ideological orthodoxies of the left while Trump has no regard for those of the right. This iconoclasm is one of the sources of his power.”

Trumpism threatens the American creed, whose core emphasizes an opportunity state buttress by liberty and individual rights, including equality before the law, freedom of speech and association, and economic opportunity. American creed came as the result of support of limited government and free market economics. There was a time in which the creed was our national consensus in which both political parties believed in. What America had was a belief in egalitarianism in which all were equal before the law and no one was better than anyone else.

Trumpism has flourished at a time in which a new lower class has emerged within the white working class as work and marriage decline. White working class men saw their labor participation drop from 96% to 79% since 1968 while the marriage rate dropped from 86% to 52% in that same time period. One out of every five men in the prime working age are no longer looking for work and they have lost faith in the Republican party which they have supported for decades and they view Trump as their final hope. For many of these individuals, they blame free trade for closed factories or illegal immigrations for loss of their jobs on local construction jobs. Many Trump supporters are abandoning conservatism and they no longer believe in the American c creed, but then many of the elites that look down upon them don’t believe in the American creed either. Trumpism and national populism are the rejection of an opportunity state and Trump, for his occasional talk about conservative ideas, often turns back to his more leftist views when he gets in trouble or looks for answers when stumped. During the Wisconsin primary, he attacked Scott Walker’s reforms from the left as he stated that Walker should have surrendered to the unions and raised taxes. He simply recited leftist talking points. This wasn’t the first time in this election that he would resort to leftist talking points.

National populism’s appeal is that it provides answers and solutions that are government driven, such as tariffs to keep out foreign goods, bringing back manufacturing to America, stopping the stem of immigrants, legal or illegal, and eliminating the competition for jobs. What is missing is obvious; limiting the scope of government and dealing with those government policies that have led to disaster and that have befallen much of middle class.

During the 80’s and into the 90’s, the middle class income grew and so did the overall economy. Since 1999, the average household income has dropped $4,000 dollars and Americans have not yet even recovered what they lost from the beginning of the last recession that began in the winter of 2007 and early 2008. Since the last year of the Bush administration and the first years of the Obama administration, household incomes are slightly over $3,500 less today. The Obama years have seen the return of jobs but not the high paying jobs. Many communities have not participated in the slowest recovery on record since the end of the World War II and you can even make the case, the slowest recovery in a century.

National populism is the mirror image of Democratic socialism in its basic core and solutions. The only difference is that Trump will use the government to benefit his supporters and business associates as opposed to those that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton would support.


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