Janan Ganesh in search of ‘The True Populist’. Old Socialist comments

Headline: America is still waiting for a true populist

Sub-headline: The marginal voter wants universal healthcare and higher taxes, but also tighter borders

Mr. Ganesh is a bit late in posting  his Anti-Sanders essay. although not quite as crude, not to speak of less hysterical, than Lowry’s, or as dull-witted as David Brooks’ entry.
Rich Lowry’s essay in the National Review:

Headline: ‘Bernie Is Not Normal’

‘Sanders does indeed have his charms. He’s sincere, consistent, and inarguably himself. He now has a step on frenemy Elizabeth Warren in the leftist lane in the primaries because he’s not as painfully calculating as she is. But make no mistake: Sanders is a socialist continuing his takeover attempt of the Democratic party to forge what he aptly calls a political revolution. He may be more polite than Trump, but he’s wildly outside the mainstream and a clear and present danger to the public welfare.


And ends with this, that resorts to a concept utterly alien to ‘Conservatism’ ‘the public welfare’ :

David Brooks offers this refracted paranoia, as a legitimate critique of Sanders in The New York Times:

Headline: The Bernie Sanders Fallacy

Sub-headline: No, Virginia, there is no class war.

This is a golden age for “Theyism.” This is the belief that there is some malevolent, elite “they” out there and “they” are destroying life for the rest of us.

There is Donald Trump’s culture-war Theyism: The coastal cultural elites hate genuine Americans, undermining our values and opening our borders. And there is Bernie Sanders’s class-war Theyism: The billionaires have rigged the economy to benefit themselves and impoverish everyone else.

The final paragraphs of Mr. Brooks’ Capitalist Apologetics reverts to Public Moralizing in the manner of Mr. Lowry. With the caveat, that when all else fails, we must cede to the wisdom of ‘successful executives’.

But if you want to deal with our real problems, stop the us/them warfare and start dealing with productivity inequality.

Successful executives are doing what’s best for their companies, gathering as much talent as they can. This isn’t evil. It’s not exploitation.

The job of public policy is to make it easier for everybody to do what successful people are doing. Productivity is the key to national prosperity. Every time we increase productivity for one person, we all thrive a little more, together.


But Mr. Ganesh does raise the vexing question of what ‘the marginal voter wants’. Who is this ‘marginal voter’? The Trump voter? Or just the natural rhetorical/political companion to the straw-man of the ‘true populist’ ?

Old Socialist











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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