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Your host, PM 'Papa' Carpenter


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February 16, 2016


There's that isn't there. This is,regrettably, the downside to packing your electorate into two boxes labelled Republican and Democrat. On the plus side it forces, or did once upon a time, internal compromises that presented that electorate with a narrower range of policy options that never strayed too far from centrist positions.
Well, say they dissatisfied, you argue well for a multiparty system that allows the electorate a wider range of policy options. And I agree. It would. The problem is persuading the other side to fragment first because whoever does it first is electorally doomed. And the divided fragments would lack the power to alter the masses of laws that favor the two party system. Pragmatically that means you're stuck with this crap, the two chair game of musical chairs.

Do not put up your dukes. I am but a humble student wishing to know. The 4th and 5th paragraphs feature the recurring PM Carpenter theme that populism is bad, and specific reasons are set forth. You've inspired me to learn about populism.

So far my amateur impression is that populism is a divisive appeal pitting the interests of the "the common people" and "the elite" against each other. There is or has been populism of the left, right, and center. There is elite populism as well as the type portrayed by the angry, illiterate mob. "The Reagan Revolution" is an example of the former. A specific example of a core elitist populist belief was the Yuppies' rote response to criticism of Reagan's creating homeless masses by withdrawing federal funds for mental facilities: "Those people want to be on the streets. If you try to put them in an institution you're messing with their lifestyle."

Huey Long's Share Our Wealth movement gets much mention on this blog. Less discussed are Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Party, Farmers' movements like The Grange, Roosevelt's New Deal, LBJ's Great Society and the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960's. The Revolutionary War is also considered a populist movement by some academics. And incidentally, it's common for opponents of populism to charge that its goals are unrealistic. Any comment would be appreciated.

So far I've looked at Wikipedia as well as:

There's populism and then there is populism. Depends on who your target is. The most dangerous target is your own party if you aren't running as an inevitably loser third party. Especially if the message is that your own party doesn't give you what the populist says they can because you've been betrayed by them. It really doesn't matter if there is truth in it or not. There's never as much as your basic populist would declare. And never none. If you're going to do it and don't want to poison your own well make the other guys your main target. It's one thing to inspire the troops to believe you can do a better job meeting their needs and quite another to suggest there's treason in the ranks. That's a party killer. This would be my take. But I share your curiosity about what the prof thinks.

Most Republicans believe angels can fly down and impregnate virgins and that Jesus and Ayn Rand are conservative twins. Faith = Ignorance = Gullible

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