Rise and fall of populism essay

The answer, I found, was in the diversity of those involved in the movement. These separatists, they came from all corners of the state and all nodes of the political spectrum, and yet in this movement they had common cause. The Yes Californians certainly weren't just Los Angeles and San Francisco Democrats who voted 2-to-1 for Hillary Clinton, but rather they were a bundle of walking-talking regionally-specific contradictions and amalgamations. They were I-never-paid-much-attention-to-politics-before agnostics. They were Redwood libertarians. They were D-and-R-and-I-and-G-I've-voted-for-every-party Orange County independents. They were desert folk in desert towns, who worked in the sun during the day and designed apps at night. They were farmers in Bakersfield who voted Trump but worry he's going to take away the illegals they employ, and respect, and frankly cannot live without. They were tech-world Randists welcoming the robot revolution. They were travelers who when they went abroad identified as Californian first and American second. They were citizens of the only-relatively-recently-turned-true-blue state of California, who'd elevated three men to America's highest office, three Republicans but never a Democrat. They were Reagan ranchers and Nixonian grove hands and Valley dwellers—all the valleys—who didn't waste their time discriminating on social issues, because they knew the only thing worth truly fighting was the imposition of that faraway federal government.

The mixing and inverting of standard political divisions mirrors in interesting ways the strange political phenomenon of the past year in American life. In the wake of the surprising presidential election of Donald Trump, American culture has largely degenerated into a series of shouting matches. By comparison, little attention has been devoted to understanding the origins of the surge in populist sentiment, unless, that is, one takes seriously the view that it is simply reducible to tumescent racism and xenophobia. For those who want, at least for a brief time, to step back from our increasingly irate culture war, and to seek understanding, the works of Vance, Hunter and Bowman, and now Wartzman are good places to start.  

Above all, there was a widespread perception that globalisation was working as it was supposed to. The local adverse effects that activists pointed to – sweatshop labour, starving farmers – were increasingly obscured by the staggering GDP numbers and fantastical images of gleaming skylines coming out of China. With some lonely exceptions – such as Rodrik and the former World Bank chief and Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz – the pursuit of freer trade became a consensus position for economists, commentators and the vast majority of mainstream politicians, to the point where the benefits of free trade seemed to command blind adherence. In a 2006 TV interview, Thomas Friedman was asked whether there was any free trade deal he would not support. He replied that there wasn’t, admitting, “I wrote a column supporting the Cafta, the Caribbean Free Trade initiative. I didn’t even know what was in it. I just knew two words: free trade.”

The government’s general response to this state of affairs takes its cue from Maduro’s late predecessor, Hugo Chavez, whom the latter likes to call “the eternal father.” It’s simply to blame everyone else: the opposition, foreign powers, the elites, multinationals, unpatriotic citizens. The seizure last week of a General Motors plant in Valencia, about 150 km west of the capital Caracas, understandably drew protests from the company, but really, it wasn’t anything new. During his 1999-2013 regime, Chavez seized many private enterprises in the name of the public good, effectively nationalizing the energy, metal, utilities, telecommunications and agriculture sectors. Maduro is just following in his boot-tracks.

Rise and fall of populism essay

rise and fall of populism essay

The government’s general response to this state of affairs takes its cue from Maduro’s late predecessor, Hugo Chavez, whom the latter likes to call “the eternal father.” It’s simply to blame everyone else: the opposition, foreign powers, the elites, multinationals, unpatriotic citizens. The seizure last week of a General Motors plant in Valencia, about 150 km west of the capital Caracas, understandably drew protests from the company, but really, it wasn’t anything new. During his 1999-2013 regime, Chavez seized many private enterprises in the name of the public good, effectively nationalizing the energy, metal, utilities, telecommunications and agriculture sectors. Maduro is just following in his boot-tracks.

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rise and fall of populism essayrise and fall of populism essayrise and fall of populism essayrise and fall of populism essay