janan.ganesh@ft.com ‘Political Calvinism’. American Writer comments


Headline:Trump’s shutdown forfeit exposes weakness of populism

Sub-headline: If their livelihoods are compromised, expect voters to look for an escape

Its always a challenge to read Mr. Ganesh’s cultivated myopia about American politics. Or should I call it Political Calvinism, awash in tepid moralizing, aided by a well deserved scolding to the American electorate?

It has been crucial to the recent success of populism that not much has been asked of people. If their livelihoods are compromised, expect a decisive number of voters to look for an escape, and to scan the terrain for politicians to punish. They might settle on the wrong ones. Liberals are always susceptible, and Mr Trump might have been able to blame them had he not taken such early possession of the shutdown. But whoever they thump, the public’s reaction to a month’s worth of hassle was not to grin, bear it and dig for victory.

The idea that life is more than convenience and gross domestic product is still populism’s emotional edge over arid technocracy. But the point is to keep it as an idea. Test the reality, and populists might find their cherished masses are a terrible disappointment to them.

Mr. Trump is former Game Show host whose shtick has no staying power, its all bluff and bluster and malign twitter tantrums. Trump has McConnell, the vulgar Dixiecrat, to lead the Republican Party.  That has purged the Eisenhower wing of the Party, that went straight into the awaiting arms of Obama. Mr. Ganesh ignores the  ‘Populists’ , just the New-New Dealers,  like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar , Rashida Tlaib and their ability to upset the remains of the Neo-Liberal Swindle, meaning the utterly corrupt Clinton Coterie led by Nancy Pelosi.

Ocasio-Cortez has shown the power of just one voice, in sum, her comments on the 70% Marginal Tax Rate! Attacked by all the voices of bourgeouise political respectable Economic Thinkers and their journalistic fellow travelers – the Marginal Tax Rate during the post-war boom of the Eisenhower years, were from 95%  to 91 %. I think that this one issue can offer the possibility of that ‘test of reality’ that Mr. Ganesh finds wanting in the Populist’s con game, and the political hoard that elected them: its all about moral failure writ as politics.

American Writer



About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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