The Trouble with Populism

Good piece by Sohrab Ahmari in the New York Times today. (Shame he blocked me on Tweeter after I suggested he might be an idiot for all the shilling he did for Trump. He’s not a moron, usually, but did play one for the New York Post.)

Opinion | Why the Red Wave Didn’t Materialize

Fake G.O.P. populism challenged “woke capital” — companies that it believed had become overly politically correct — but didn’t dare touch the power of corporate America to coerce workers and consumers, or the power of private equity and hedge funds to hollow out the real economy, which employs workers for useful products and services — or used to, anyway. The Republican Party remained as hostile as ever to collective bargaining as a new wave of labor militancy swept the private economy.

Republican economic policy remains overwhelmingly beholden to a donor class of plutocrats and high corporate managers. Seen from that perspective, it makes sense for the party to talk about adjuncts and baristas as though they were members of the ruling class. In doing so, these faux populists can remain indifferent to issues like wages and workplace power, health care and the depredations of speculative finance.

On Tuesday, it seems enough members of the “the multiracial working class” may have decided to repay that hostility and help deny Republicans their red wave: either by staying home or casting their ballots for the party that, despite its other failings, keeps entitlements inviolate, supports collective bargaining and has sought to ease the student-loan burden. Boo Hoo!

All of his observations may be equally applied to the Democratic Party. Both are controlled by an oligarchical plutocracy who struggle, for some definitions of struggle, with how they might pretend to be of the people and for the people without actually giving much attention to the people. Despite that, the Biden administration has somehow managed to begin reining in some of the excessive behavior of that class, in a slow, either half-hearted or deliberate depending on your perspective, fashion.

This does not so much make the Democrats a better party than the Republicans, as one which has at least read The Dictators Handbook and is throwing the dogs a bone.