Paul Krugman: Why Can’t Republicans Be Populists?

Paul Krugman is right.

The GOP is held back by its antiquated economic policy agenda.

New York Times:

“President Biden’s American Rescue Plan is incredibly popular, even among Republican voters. We don’t have details yet on the next big Democratic initiative, but we can expect it to poll well, because we know that it will combine major infrastructure spending with tax hikes on corporations and the rich — which are all popular things.

But like the rescue plan, the next plan probably won’t get a single Republican vote in Congress. Why are elected Republicans still so committed to right-wing economic policies that help the rich while shortchanging the working class? …

Billionaires may have started the Republican Party on its march toward extremism, but they’ve clearly lost control of the forces they conjured up. The G.O.P. can no longer put intolerance back in the closet after each election so as to focus on the real business of tax cuts and deregulation. Instead, the extremists are in charge. …

In any case, for now Republican politicians are doing Democrats a big favor, clinging to discredited economic ideas that even their own supporters dislike.”

The Republican establishment has traditionally kept its voters in a straightjacket. Those people have been routed though over the course of the last two elections.

Currently, it feels like we have finally managed to get our right arm (the cultural arm) free. The left arm (the economic arm) is still restrained although we are starting to pull it free too. When we finally get both arms free and the old muscle memory starts coming back of who we were before mainstream conservatism, we will beat the living shit out of the Democrats with both of our fists.

NY Mag:

“In the American political tradition “conservatism” and “populism” have usually been at odds, particularly in recent decades in which a self-consciously conservative Republican Party intensified its hostility to activist government and organized labor while faithfully representing the interests of the corporate sector and wealthy individuals. Dating back to Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon, conservative Republicans have often been adept at reaching out to white working-class voters with appeals to cultural traditionalism, super-patriotism, and racism. But only with the advent of Donald Trump have Republicans become willing to claim that they are now the party of the working class.

A big question for the GOP now that Trump has left office is whether they revert to their previous conservative ideology with a few Trump-branded demagogic flourishes, or commit themselves to “populism” even if it makes Ronald Reagan roll over in his grave. The case for the latter course was made boldly by conservative House Study Committee chairman Jim Banks of Indiana in a memo to House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy that Axios published Wednesday. Its subject line is unambiguous: “URGENT: Cementing GOP as the Working-Class Party. …

I don’t know if Jim Banks knows much about history, but the ideology he outlines is far from new. There is a lurid tradition in this country, but even more in Europe, for the right to use cultural issues combined with super-patriotism and economic nationalism to convince working-class voters to form a vertically integrated common front with employers and small business people against elite “cosmopolitans,” predatory financial interests, and their underclass clientele. It’s an ideology sometimes called “producerism,” a way of thinking about economic and cultural life that is often associated with Trump’s hero Andrew Jackson specifically, but that was a staple of authoritarian reactionary movements throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, as one academic take on the phenomenon explained …”

I’m pretty well educated on our history.

The White South has always been kind of populist and kind of conservative. That’s due to our Jeffersonian and Jacksonian heritage. See also how William Jennings Bryan built on Jackson’s legacy in the early 20th century. We clearly need to do the same thing in our own times.

Note: The Democrats have become the Whig Party and the Republican Party. It is all the same people now who are based “back East.” It is the party of Wall Street and Silicon Valley, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, professionals, novelty chasers and moralizing lunatics, etc.

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  1. @ here we go.again , party of lincoln, america, before and after party of lincoln. It”s not that hard to figure out.

  2. Ronald Reagan

    Import nonwhite scab labor

    Exterminate Native Born White American Labor

    This is what you voted for in 1980…1984…

  3. Krugman ???

    That wrong-way loser.
    He couldn’t predict tonight’s sunset.

    “Biden’s American Rescue Plan is incredibly popular”

    So is free candy from a stranger, until you know the consequences.

  4. Neither party cares about the interest of the people. They pretend to every 2 or 4 years when running or rerunning for reelection They both answer to their donors, special interest and lobbyists.

  5. “…the horny-handed sons and daughters of toil.”

    See the contempt oozing from that description.

    Beyond sick of smirking jew Yawk scum being the ones putting their slanted frame on every issue, particularly those affecting Whites.

    But the repuglicunts can’t be allowed to just play their old game of suckering Whites with mouth-farts about the culture war they have never had any intention of waging against the kikes & commies, while getting them to go along with Big Bidness as usual for their corporate owners.

    We want real ACTION on both fronts; if modern history is any guide, we won’t get it.

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