It's easy to see why politicians would be drawn to the populist pose. First, it makes everything so simple. The economic crisis was caused by a complex web of factors, including global imbalances caused by the rise of China. But with the populist narrative, you can just blame Goldman Sachs.
Populism is folkish, patriotism is not. One can be a patriot and a cosmopolitan. But a populist is inevitably a nationalist of sorts. Patriotism, too, is less racist than is populism. A patriot will not exclude a person of another nationality from the community where they have lived side by side and whom he has known for many years, but a populist will always remain suspicious of someone who does not seem to belong to his tribe.
I don't feel any pressure at all because I don't care. That's an occupational hazard... but if you're doing anything of any worth, and not doing something that's safe and anodyne and trying to be populist and a national treasure, then you've got to assume that as many people hate what you do - and you - as like what you do and like you.
There is absolutely no point in not being a populist. What I feel emboldened to do is to take something which is a minority interest and make it accessible without dumbing it down. I'm such an enthusiast for peculiar things, things that are perhaps a bit avant-garde, and try and involve everyone.
Bill Clinton sitting on Air Force One getting his hair cut while people around the country cooled their heels and waited for him, became a metaphor for a populist president who had gotten drunk with the perks of his own power and was sort of, you know, not sensitive to what people wanted.
Dee Dee Myers
In the late 19th century there was a major union organization, Knights of Labor, and also a radical populist movement based on farmers. It's hard to believe, but it was based in Texas, and it was quite radical. They wanted their own banks, their own cooperatives, their own control over sales and commerce.
Every campaign, Garry Wills once wrote, "taught Nixon the same lesson: mobilize resentment against those in power." History taught the same to many conservative and reactionary populist movements, whose real attitude to those in power and authority was one of a servile, envious, vicarious adoration.
From 1945 to 2003, the United States attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements fighting against intolerable regimes. In the process, the US bombed some 25 countries, caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair.
Northeastern conservatism is moderate, accepts the modern welfare state, and dislikes mixing religion with politics. Western conservatism is hawkish, hates government, and embraces individual freedom. Southern conservatism is populist, draws on evangelical Christianity, and plays upon racial resentments.
In Germany, a country that for obvious reasons is far more attuned than most to the dangers of demagogy, populism, and nationalism, lawmakers have already proposed taking legal measures against fake news. When populist, nationalist fake news threatens the liberal democratic center, other Europeans may follow suit.
Toomas Hendrik Ilves
We've always believed that popular culture and populist politics go hand in hand. It's an honor to be working with so many respected and influential artists, and we're indebted to them for having the courage to speak out at a time when our country so desperately needs change. For our 2.5 million members and far beyond, the Vote for Change tour will have a seismic cultural impact.
[The stimulus bill funds] a bureaucratic structure for the government to begin rationing the health care of the American people. They can then lead a national, populist, grassroots movement to force Congress to pass the bill, and President Obama to sign it, educating the public along way about the intractable problems of socialized medicine.
Republicans advising candidates to "grab onto the best elements of [his] anti-Washington populist agenda," but warning that Trump is a "misguided missile," "subject to farcical fits" and candidates should avoid getting drawn into "every Trump dust-up," but should quickly condemn some of his comments, including "wacky things about women."
There are many fans of hard rock music that have been wrongly pigeonholed as apathetic. This music is not music for the elitist coffeehouse culture in SoHo. It' s rock 'n' roll music for kids across the land, and I think that makes it much more subversive in a way, in that it has the form and the function of a powerful, populist music, but it can carry very incendiary messages.
Fascists are flourishing politically in France and Italy, and now comes the murder of Pim Fortuyn, a populist politician who might have done well enough in the forthcoming Dutch elections to hold the balance of power in that country's parliament. But it is the widespread Jew-baiting that best reveals that Europeans are evidently incapable of learning from their history. France is the outright prizewinner where anti-Semitism is concerned.
Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
Robert A. Heinlein
Although distortion of the past is widespread, the most common travesty is one of omission, wherein populist leaders neglect to mention the crimes committed by their own side or recollect them in such a way that evades accepting full responsibility. That politicians are so able to evoke historical arguments in these ways results from a prior failure of the society to engage in a full and frank encounter with past wrongdoings.
Richard Ashby Wilson
With unfailing consistency, U.S. intervention has been on the side of the rich and powerful of various nations at the expense of the poor and needy. Rather than strengthening democracies, U.S. leaders have overthrown numerous democratically elected governments or other populist regimes in dozens of countries ... whenever these nations give evidence of putting the interests of their people ahead of the interests of multinational corporate interests.
Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties, even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization.
I suspect that many of the great cultural shifts that prepare the way for political change are largely aesthetic. A Buick radiator grille is as much a political statement as a Rolls Royce radiator grille, one enshrining a machine aesthetic driven by a populist optimism, the other enshrining a hierarchical and exclusive social order.
J. G. Ballard
It's innate in me to be a Democrat - a true Southern populist kind of Democrat. There's not a lot of those anymore. I'm not saying I'm right or wrong. That's just the way I feel. The issues that matter to me are the social safety nets for people, health care, middle-class concerns. We need to take care of the middle class and the poor in our country. The chasm is getting larger between haves and have nots, and that's something we need to close down a little bit.
Globalization is a reality. And this makes most leaders today realize that populist illusions can't be sustained before they collapse into stagnation and leave their political supporters deeply disillusioned. You can't inflate away your troubles or allow mountains of debt to build up if, as a country, you have to make your living in a globally competitive environment... Building prosperity requires caution and patience. It requires time. Populism is a short cut that doesn't work.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Movements are not radical. Movements are the American way. A small group of abolitionists writing and speaking eventually led to the end of slavery. A few stirred-up women brought about women's voting. The Populist movement, the Progressive movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, the women's movement - the examples go on and on of 'little people' getting together and telling the truth about their lives. They made our government act.
The Populist Caucus is the only caucus in Congress devoted solely to addressing middle class economic issues. We formed the caucus because the founding members felt like there wasn't enough focus on middle class issues in Washington, and we're going to keep it focused on middle class issues.
I'm not doing anything wrong, I'm not obstructing anyone's access. When I have a crowd I make sure that the crowd makes room for people. I'm an artist who cares about the cultural fabric of New York City. I care about New York as a harbor for street culture - and I care about street culture as a base-level populist diffusion of ideas. And I believe in making those ideas accessible to everyone.
Yet behind all of the populist hot air, and the big shot persona, is a man who is very cunning. As a real estate mogul worth billions, a man like Donald Trump knows how to relate to an audience better than a politician. He has to as each transaction he is working on can increase his personal wealth. Moreover, he doesn't have the time to make the connections while trying to close a deal that an average politician does. He has to, as a salesman, become expert at being a 'five minute friend'. Every move has to count in building a credible connection that will get him to, and beyond, the closing table.
The populist zeal to seek revenge on those who make a lot of money is targeted almost exclusively at corporations. I haven't heard outcries about Hollywood actors who make millions per film, even when those movies are a bust at the box office and the talent at issue has none. There's no outrage over athletes like New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez's $33 million salary or Celtic power forward Kevin Garnett's $25 million. Nor should there be. These are exceptionally talented individuals whose teams' owners think they're worth every penny.
Oswald Mosley's movement, it was a big movement. It was obviously anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, it was populist. Mosley wanted to replace the parliamentary system of government in Britain with a government that was based on business interests, that was based on the idea that business interests were the real interests of that country and business interests.and reorganizing the government to serve business interests, that would be a way to get stuff done faster and more efficiently.
In a situation of manipulation, the Left is almost always tempted by a 'quick return to power, ' forgets the necessity of joining with the oppressed to forge an organization, and strays into an impossible 'dialogue' with the dominant elites. It ends by being manipulated by these elites, and not infrequently itself falls in an elitist game, which it calls 'realism.' Manipulation, like the conquest whose objectives it serves, attempts to anesthetize the people so they will not think. For if the people join to their presence in the historical process critical thinking about that process, the threat of their emergence materializes in revolution... One of the methods of manipulation is to inoculate individuals with the bourgeois appetite for personal success. This manipulation is sometimes carried out directly by the elites and sometimes indirectly, through populist leaders.
It has been claimed that Plato was an egalitarian; it has been claimed that he was a totalitarian. It has been claimed that he was the utopian, proposing a universal blueprint for the ideal state; it has been claimed that he was an anti-utopian, demonstrating that all political idealism is folly. It has been claimed that he was a populist, concerned with the best interests of all citizens; it has been claimed he was an elitist with disturbing eugenic tendencies. It has been claimed he was a romantic; it has been claimed that he was a prick. It has been claimed that he was a theorizer, with sweeping metaphysical doctrines; it has been claimed that he was the anti-theorizing skeptic, always intent on unsettling convictions. It has been claimed that he was full of humor and play; it has been claimed that he was as solemn as a sermon limining the torments of the damned. It has been claimed he loved his fellow man; it has been claimed he loves his fellow man. It has been claimed he was a philosopher who used his artistic gifts in the service of philosophy; it has been claimed he was an artist who used philosophy in the service of his art.
Insofar as craft and poetics in a poem have a politics, I wanted to avoid that brittle enjambed-prose-sentence-lyric verse, where you have standard sentences snapped off and scattered decoratively across the page (which I might go out on a limb and say was characteristic of some leftist poets, Beat poets, street poets and populist poets of the 70s and 80s-all of whom I basically view as comrades, I should probably say, to this day) and on the other hand I also wanted my poetics to operate differently than those more right-wing academics-in practice-even if in their poems or statements they proclaim public leftist views or ideas-they remain academic poets, operating in elite university-supported circles, institutionalized and reading before institutional audiences, awarding grants and awards to each other, sitting on each other's grants panels, awards and tenure committees, as Philip Levine admitted in an interview in Don't Ask, 'giving prizes to friends.
Information or allegations reflecting negatively on individuals or groups seen less sympathetically by the intelligentsia pass rapidly into the public domain with little scrutiny and much publicity. Two of the biggest proven hoaxes of our time have involved allegations of white men gang-raping a black woman- first the Tawana Brawley hoax of 1987 and later the false rape charges against three Duke University students in 2006. In both cases, editorial indignation rang out across the land, without a speck of evidence to substantiate either of these charges. Moreover, the denunciations were not limited to the particular men accused, but were often extended to society at large, of whom these men were deemed to be symptoms or 'the tip of the iceberg.' In both cases, the charges fit a pre-existing vision, and that apparently made mundane facts unnecessary. Another widely publicized hoax- one to which the President of the United States added his sub-hoax- was a 1996 story appearing in USA Today under the headline, 'Arson at Black Churches Echoes Bigotry of the Past.' There was, according to USA Today, 'an epidemic of church burning, ' targeting black churches. Like the gang-rape hoaxes, this story spread rapidly through the media. The Chicago Tribune referred to 'an epidemic of criminal and cowardly arson' leaving black churches in ruins. As with the gang-rape hoaxes, comments on the church fire stories went beyond those who were supposed to have set these fires to blame forces at work in society at large. Jesse Jackson was quoted was quoted in the New York Times as calling these arsons part of a 'cultural conspiracy' against blacks, which 'reflected the heightened racial tensions in the south that have been exacerbated by the assault on affirmative action and the populist oratory of Republican politicians like Pat Buchanan.' Time magazine writer Jack White likewise blamed 'the coded phrases' of Republican leaders for 'encouraging the arsonists.' Columnist Barbara Reynolds of USA Today said that the fires were 'an attempt to murder the spirit of black America.' New York Times columnist Bob Herbert said, "The fuel for these fires can be traced to a carefully crafted environment of bigotry and hatred that was developed over the last century.' As with the gang-rape hoaxes, the charges publicized were taken as reflecting on the whole society, not just those supposedly involved in what was widely presumed to be arson, rather than fires that break out for a variety of other reasons. Washington Post columnist Dorothy Gilliam said that society in effect was 'giving these arsonists permission to commit these horrible crimes.' The climax of these comments came when President Bill Clinton, in his weekly radio address, said that these church burnings recalled similar burnings of black churches in Arkansas when he was a boy. There were more that 2, 000 media stories done on the subject after the President's address. This story began to unravel when factual research showed that (1) no black churches were burned in Arkansas when Bill Clinton was growing up, (2) there had been no increase in fires at black churches, but an actual decrease over the previous 15 years, (3) the incidence of fires at white churches was similar to the incidence of fires at black churches, and (4) where there was arson, one-third of the suspects were black. However, retractions of the original story- where there were retractions at all- typically were given far less prominence than the original banner headlines and heated editorial comments.