« "24" Reimagined | Main | Things Filled With Things »

August 30, 2007

Is Populism On The Rise?

Will Wilkinson, proudly protecting the Cato line of "Americans actually want more risk and financial vulnerability!" against Ross Douthat's pro-populist heresies, is missing the point. While Ross is looking at trends, Will is looking at snapshots -- and not even the right ones. So Ross says, "the pressure of continued outsourcing may also increase the public’s appetite for a smart left populism," and Will replies, "according to another very recent Harris Poll, the level of overall satisfaction is up since 2003, well over half of Americans say their life situation has improved over the last few years, and nearly 2/3 expect it to improve over the next five." Checkmate?

Not quite. Notice, here, that Will uses "life satisfaction" rather than anything directly related to the economic numbers for his point. That's because the economic numbers are very bad for his point, But as Will -- who dearly loves his "alternative status hierarchies" -- fully knows, economic status is not the only determinant of life satisfaction. If you don't have health care but are really happy with your attempts to restore the heat and spark to your marriage, you may be both satisfied and a populist!

Moreover, invoking current polls is completely non-responsive to Ross's claims. Ross -- and Alan Blinder, and everyone else -- expect tens of millions of white collar jobs to come under pressure from outsourcing within the next few decades. If Will doesn't think this will upset anyone, he's got to construct a plausible theory as to why, not note that the Harris poll says many folks are satisfied with their lot now.

And this goes across the board. Will may not like the trends, but it requires some fancy libertarian footwork to argue that continually rising health costs, substantially stagnant wages, the enduring pressures of globalization, the decline of the corporate welfare state, and all the other forces buffeting the bottom 80 percent will elicit no response in the electorate. Indeed, it's hard to argue they've not already done so.

Forget 2008, where all the Democrats are running substantially to the left of where they were in 2004, 2000, or 1996. Look at Bush in 2000, who won the Republican nomination based on a big government conservatism platform that included increasing federal control over the public schools, expanding Medicare, protecting Social Security, and increasing social services to the poor. That wasn't an accident.

If you look at the Pew Typology studies, not only is the Democratic base desirous of increased government involvement and broad social spending, but the majority of the Republican base -- namely the "social conservatives" and the "pro-government conservatives" -- exhibit the same populist tendencies, favoring universal health care and government regulation of business while fearing corporate power and globalization. The "pro-government conservatives," incidentally, are a new group in the typology, reflecting shifting opinions within the electorate, and indeed within the base of the Republican Party.

In fact, there's almost no trend in American life that isn't suggestive of a renewed populism. Not the economic trends, which militate towards more security and guaranteed benefits; not the political trends, which show a strong swing left on economic matters within both parties; not the policy trends, which saw a major expansion of Medicare under Republicans coupled with the overwhelming defeat of Social Security privatization; and not the polling trends, where the surveys regularly pick up on substantial majorities for progressive economics. 9/11 blunted some of these forces, and political elites -- particularly in the GOP -- are astonishingly adept at ignoring the economic desires of their base. But those tactics will only work for so long.

August 30, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

They hardly ignore them. Well, they are lately, and that's why approval is dropping like a rock.

But you have to know how the average joe processes information, and how Republicans tend to take advantage of this. It's simple. You're joe average, worried about rising health care premiums. You're flipping through the channels, cross CNN, and you see Bush speaking in front of a backdrop "Affordable Health Care". Cool you think. Bush is doing something to bring me affordable health care. Yay. Joe average continues on, lands on ESPN and watches that.

It's that subconcioius branding of progressive goals that the GOP has been using to counteract increasing economic insecurity.

Posted by: Karmakin | Aug 30, 2007 9:46:38 AM

Excellent post Ezra, that's why they pay you the big bucks...er...bucks in any case.

Posted by: d | Aug 30, 2007 9:52:26 AM

Whoa whoa whoa...you are trying to tell me that a libertarian is demonstrating an uncritical allegiance to his economic philosophies, cherry-picking from all the available evidence to 'prove' that whatever he already knew was right?

I am shocked. Shocked!

At least Will "Craftsman" Wilkinson (he's a tool, but a high-quality one) cites actual evidence in support of his case, not citing 'everyone knows' evidence like "Stanley" McArdle. If we're going to have to hear about libertarian verbal diarrhea on this site, more Wilkinson please!

Posted by: David S | Aug 30, 2007 9:56:43 AM

It's that subconcioius branding of progressive goals that the GOP has been using to counteract increasing economic insecurity.

But you can also argue a kind of 'reverse Thomas Frank effect', in that while social conservative branding with relatively modest goals keeps alive the piñatas (gays, abortion) to enliven another campaign, that kind of economic branding from conservatives without much to show for it not only strengthens the Democrats' claim, but also pushes libertarian positions from the mainstream debate. Plus, the one topic where Bush really screwed the pooch with his base -- immigration -- is one where the Cato line, for better or worse, has very little public headway.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Aug 30, 2007 10:07:26 AM

The average person I talk to is pretty convinced that the Bush Jr. Republicans were in charge from 2000 to 2006; although there are a few I talk to who granted a 9/11 exemption for a while, most seem to pretty much grok that this new hard right GOP dominated government had a chance to do what they actually wanted to do.

It's pretty hard to simultaneously argue for the Republican right wing's complete domination of electoral victory and all branches of government from 2000 right up until 2006 and then try to suggest that they never got their chance to do what they really, really wanted.

My view is that the Bush Jr. Republican lock on all government meant that they undercut the eternal Reaganite fantasy that they would have delivered conservative utopia had those darn liberals not gotten in the way.

They had absolute power, it's pretty clear to everyone, and they tried to do every crazy thing they wanted to do. Some things like their plans to give Social Security to private investors was overwhelmingly rejected at nearly every level of society; other things they did get to try out, like their invasion and occupation of Iraq, or their abandonment of a federal role in Katrina disaster response, and most people now don't like either of those things.

And I think a lot more average people than ever before now think, Hey, we've been there, done that, and we didn't like it.

Posted by: El Cid | Aug 30, 2007 10:15:22 AM

psudo:You're probably right on that. Even if they kept up with the misinformation routine, all they were doing is eventually giving more creedence to populist goals.

They mortgaged the future of their ideology, and for what...a failed war in Iraq?

Posted by: Karmakin | Aug 30, 2007 10:27:57 AM

One of the reason I say that we owe Bush is that but-for him, we would have went another 20 years of this flirting with Reaganism. The reason that I have a problem with a Clinton Presidency is that she is still stuck fighting Reaganism rather than building the next movement- the progressive evolution that is occuring.

Posted by: akaison | Aug 30, 2007 11:45:58 AM

One of the reason I say that we owe Bush is that but-for him, we would have went another 20 years of this flirting with Reaganism.
I agree. I hope we survive this 30+ years of Reaganism. That said, there will arise another New Nu Right, but I don't feel like I see the new turdism's outlines.

Posted by: El Cid | Aug 30, 2007 12:43:12 PM

it may happen sooner rather than later. the fact is that many of the progressive side aren't all that progressive. they still buy into much of reaganism. its hard, even for me, to overcome our indoctrination about how we should think versus reality of whats actually happening. i' m becoming more liberal as i get older as i have become more aware

Posted by: akaison | Aug 30, 2007 1:21:59 PM

Akaison:
I thought it was supposed to be the other way around? ;-) I learned a lot from my grandfather, though it hadn't really hit home till the Decider came upon the scene.

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience | Aug 30, 2007 2:13:13 PM

I forgot to add, populism is on the rise again because of Raygun-ism. It's because things never "trickled down". My grandfather always knew Raygun was full of it. He said the rich couldn't deal with a middle class, so they work to eradicate it.

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience | Aug 30, 2007 2:17:07 PM

As much as I would like to believe that for the average American there has been a conscious decision to embrace liberal ideas, personally I think the greatest portion of the trend is in the end of the fad for Reaganite right wing ideas.

Fortunately and unfortunately, I think there is some sort of fad to fade transition in political attitudes. If, say, liberal ideas were to become strong and dominant, then it would maybe only be a while until the next right wing movement sprang up, and to many people it would seem fresher and different from whatever liberal ideas they felt like they were tired of.

Posted by: El Cid | Aug 30, 2007 6:34:04 PM

What are you people going to do when George Bush leaves office? That is surely going to leave a huge gaping void in lives that are otherwise, well, huge gaping voids.

Posted by: Bret | Sep 1, 2007 4:38:12 AM

What are you people going to do when George Bush leaves office? That is surely going to leave a huge gaping void in lives that are otherwise, well, huge gaping voids.

Kinda like the void that produces meaningless comments such as your own?

Posted by: WB Reeves | Sep 2, 2007 11:00:53 AM

What are you people going to do when George Bush leaves office? That is surely going to leave a huge gaping void in lives that are otherwise, well, huge gaping voids.

Posted by: Bret | Sep 1, 2007 4:38:12 AM

Well, I guess it would be like working in a company that was coming really close to failing, and you live in a crisis environment for a long time, and you're so close to collapse that you can't do too much more than stay one or two steps ahead of that. And then, when you finally pull out of that crisis, you find other, more productive things to do, you begin spending your energies on pursuits related to the growth, health, and improvement of the company, and yet you still have that bond forged among those of you who pulled together to survive the odds.

Posted by: El Cid | Sep 2, 2007 12:34:10 PM

托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
钢托盘
木托盘
钢制托盘
托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
南京托盘
南京钢托盘
上海托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
南京托盘
南京钢托盘
上海托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
纸托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘
杭州托盘
成都托盘
武汉托盘
长沙托盘
合肥托盘
苏州托盘
无锡托盘
昆山托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
纸托盘
南京托盘
南京钢制托盘
南京钢托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘

托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
塑料托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
塑料托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹板托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
木托盘
塑料托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹板托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹板托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘


托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
托盘
塑料托盘

Posted by: judy | Oct 11, 2007 6:43:12 AM

Tired of paying too much for prescription drugs? Buy drugs online no prescription needed from Pharmacy No Prescription

Posted by: NoPrescriptionDrugstore | Feb 13, 2008 4:27:40 AM

Interesting... you got my email please let me know when you add a new article to come back! I will try to subscribe to your RSS, definetely worth it.

Posted by: NoPrescription | Feb 16, 2008 8:47:51 AM

I'm extremely interested please post more articles. I'll be back to find out more.

Posted by: Tramadol | Feb 27, 2008 7:39:18 PM

Makes sense! Nice article! I'll Digg right away....

Posted by: Generic Celexa | Mar 10, 2008 8:17:07 AM

buy hoodia gordonii at hoodiahome.com 3 differe options to choose from. Pure Hoodia, Hoodia Gordonii Plus and Liquid Hoodia.

Posted by: Hoodia Gordonii | Mar 13, 2008 2:23:21 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.