On trying to shoehorn populism into the modern Left. Somehow. Somewhere.


I’m gonna push back a little on Salena Zito’s argument here on populism, although I certainly agree with her assessment of Elizabeth Warren:

We are in the midst of a record wealth gap between America’s rich and middle class, according to the Pew Research Centers. That has fueled the populist opposition to Washington among Main Street Americans on both sides of the political line — and [Senator Elizabeth] Warren is trying to cash in on it.

That’s fine; that’s what we do in America. But it isn’t populism, as will be seen when people do not rise up. Populism is an ideology extolling the virtues of the people against the depravities of elites — such as Harvard Law professors like Warren, according to Baylor University political science professor Curt Nichols.

Salena went on to argue that the Occupy Movement had populist themes, which is frankly absurd for the same reasons why thinking of Elizabeth Warren as a populist is absurd: if you consider the woman/movement using the very class structure that she/they apparently so adore it becomes obvious that she/they are a product of the intelligentsia, not the proletariat* . Even the liberal Huffington Post was forced to concede that OWS was not particularly bottom-up in its makeup:

The report surveyed the participants at a joint Occupy-labor movement May Day rally in New York City and found that two-thirds of those who described themselves as “actively involved” in Occupy Wall Street were white, while 80 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Those demographics aren’t representative of New York City as a whole. Only one-third of New York City residents are white, according to the report, and about 34 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

They did slightly better when compared to the USA as a whole, but not actually ‘well.’ The general population is about 63% white and about 29% have a bachelor’s degree; HuffPo kind of hinted that the whole Occupy thing was really about student loan debt, and I kind of agree with HuffPo. And don’t get me wrong, the student loan industry is a racket and an embarrassment. It is not, however, particularly a working class issue. Then again, neither was anything that Occupy Wall Street chose to talk about, specifically. Particularly when the blackshirts moved in… but that’s a topic for a different post.

Moving on… while …read more    

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