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Why we need populism It kicks in when our democracies become too remote and detached from the people

Have we seen the last of President Donald J. Trump? Credit: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty

Have we seen the last of President Donald J. Trump? Credit: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty


November 16, 2020   6 mins

Donald Trump is leaving the White House, Dominic Cummings has left No 10 Downing Street and populists around the world are in decline. Cue the return of the debate that we have every year or so: is the party all over for populism?

“Does Trump’s defeat signal the start of populism’s decline?”, asks the New York Times. “A Biden win buries the populist decade,” states The Article. “Its best days may already be over”, suggests The Guardian. “After four years of President Trump, and four years of trying to get Brexit done”, writes Andy Beckett, “populism is entering a trickier political stage: middle age”.

Populism has had a terrible year. The highs of 2016 feel like a very long time ago. Contrary to the old saying that you need a crisis to put anti-establishment revolts on steroids, this crisis seems to be throwing cold water over them.

Compare the polls before the pandemic erupted, in January, and how they look today. In Italy, Matteo Salvini’s League is down from 30 to 25%. In France, Marine Le Pen’s movement had a disappointing set of local elections earlier this year, losing around 40% of her local officials. In Germany, the Alternative for Germany is down from 14 to 9%, and the mainstream centre-Right and centre-Left that are up. In Brazil, public disapproval of Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency more than doubled during the height of the crisis. And here in the United Kingdom, for those who see Boris Johnson as part of the same anti-establishment wave (I do not), he has lost a 20-point lead in the polls in less than a year.

Then come the latest findings from the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project, a survey of about 26,000 people across 25 countries, which suggests that ‘populist tendencies’ among people in Europe are in decline. And to this we might add the coming shift in political debates more generally.

We might have a vaccine but we also have the largest pile of debt since the Second World War. Somebody still needs to pay for this crisis. And that means that debates over economics, things like taxation and redistribution, which underpin the traditional ‘Left versus Right’ spectrum, have by no means disappeared. The 2010s were dominated by debates over identity and culture but the 2020s may soon see a return to those classic debates over the economy, so the thinking goes. And that might help the Left.

Look ahead, as I suggested in June, and it is not hard to see a chain of potential events that could utterly transform the global debate. Joe Biden enters the White House in January, the Alternative for Germany slump at elections in Germany a few months later, Emmanuel Macron is comfortably re-elected in 2022, Bolsonaro is kicked out in 2022, Poland’s Law and Justice lose in 2023 and a Labour-SNP coalition take power here in the UK.

One of the big arguments about national populism is that it represents a values-based backlash among a loose alliance of blue-collar workers and middle-class conservatives against the excesses of liberalism. Were that chain of events to take place then, so the thinking goes, it would represent a counter-backlash by a loose alliance of liberal graduates, ethnic minorities, Millennials and Zoomers — a newly ascendant majority who reflect how demography is, ultimately, destiny.

It’s all so seductive, isn’t it? Only, I don’t really buy it. The rise, nature and appeal of populism have always been more complicated than our public debates would have us believe. There is even a serious debate to be had about whether you can even ‘get rid’ of populism, or whether that would even be desirable. Democracy ultimately depends on the people for its legitimacy and, going back to Michael Oakeshott, has long incubated a tradition that sees politics not simply as process and management, but as a forum through which the people can search for national redemption, salvation and renewal.

Populism is something that kicks in when our democracies become too remote and detached from the people. Not only is it impossible to strip this long tradition out, but even if we could then we would find ourselves confronted with the very opposite of democracy: hollow, distant, bureaucratic and soulless technocracies. Democracy has always rested on the uneasy balance between these two styles.

But looking past that, I think that in the current moment we can also see three more specific reasons why the populist challenge to what we might call the liberal mainstream is unlikely to disappear in the years ahead.

The first is one of the big lessons from the previous crisis, the Great Recession: political volatility lies downstream from crises. Had we tried to predict the political effects of the Great Recession during the eye of the storm, as Lehman Brothers fell, then it is very unlikely that we would have foreseen the full extent of the churn and change that was about to arrive: the rise of Trump, Brexit, Salvini, Le Pen and others, as well as the continued collapse of social democracy.

These revolts may not have been caused by the Great Recession, but they were certainly given a helping hand by that crisis. And the full impact wasn’t clear immediately. It was only years later, once its effects had bled into people’s daily lives, that the underlying divides began to find their expression in the world of politics.

It may well be the same this time around. Consider this study on the effect of past pandemics: SARS (2003), H1N1 (2009), MERS (2012), Ebola (2014) and Zika (2016). It finds that five years after the immediate impact, the ‘Gini coefficient’, the main measure of inequality, has increased significantly.

To that we might add the looming pile of evidence from around the world which shows, quite clearly, that it is low-income voters who have, once again, been hit disproportionately hard by both the health and economic fallout of coronavirus. We know, for example, that in the United States most of the job losses have hit lower-income groups; while here in the UK, the Office for National Statistics suggests it is working-class ‘elementary workers’ who have been most likely to suffer higher rates of unemployment and mortality during this crisis. This tells me that many of the underlying social divides that fed the higher rates of political volatility in 2010s are, if anything, only being reinforced by this crisis.

The second is that we now have growing evidence that demography might not be destiny. Trump might be on the way out but Trumpism is alive and well. Look at data on voting patterns in the United States and you can make a case for how, actually, his movement has broadened rather than narrowed.

As Michael Lind points out in UnHerd, one of the big political narratives about populism — that it is mainly a refuge for old white men —  has imploded as Hispanic, Latino, Cuban American and women drifted toward the outgoing incumbent. Put simply, there was no major repudiation of Trumpism. There was no blue wave.

This is all consistent with what Roger Eatwell and I argued in National Populism. These movements have deep roots within our societies while their reach is potentially wider than many think. Significant numbers of ethnic minority voters (like the one in three black and ethnic minority Brexiteers), a good chunk of graduates, the self-employed and middle-class remain receptive to this politics.

In the same way, it is worth noting that significant numbers of people from LGBT communities in France support Marine Le Pen because of threats to their rights from Islamic extremists, while here in the UK Boris Johnson has shown that you can substantially realign a party electorate (a realignment that his new advisors would do well to study).

Liberal progressives have a habit of talking about politics as though it were a conveyor belt, with increasingly diverse populations gradually turning their way as one year follows the next. But look at the events of the past decade and ask yourself if you find this convincing. We’ve never had more graduates, liberals and middle-class professionals in our societies and yet the number of Left-wing parties that are in power has crashed while conservatives and populists have, on the whole, had some of their best years for decades.

The third and final reason is that I am still not convinced liberals have crafted a meaningful reply to the underlying grievances that led us here in the first place. Look at Biden’s campaign. He certainly did inch a little closer to Trump; his ‘Made in America’ tax incentive, penalty for offshoring and promise to review (rather than repeal) Trump’s tariffs on China all show how a protectionist spirit remains alive and well. Alongside his big promise to invest in manufacturing and infrastructure, this might explain why he did a little better among white men, even if these gains were not as impressive as we were told they would be.

But he said almost nothing about the cultural dimension. Early Biden executive orders will likely focus on cancelling funding for the wall, reversing the ‘Muslim travel ban’ and pushing softer immigration positions. These will go down well with his progressive base but they will also antagonise Republicans. So I see little reason to think that polarisation in America will reduce. One of the central challenges facing all of our leaders around the world is to somehow strike a compromise between these two camps. So far, few have found a way.

And what was Biden’s vision for a revitalised liberalism? It seems to me that his was a narrative that was more anti-Trump than pro-Biden, more anti-populist than pro-liberalism, if you like. In the same way, aside from managing coronavirus more effectively, what exactly is Keir Starmer’s vision for where he wants to take the country and the British people? We don’t really know because, so far, that vision does not seem to exist.

The year or two ahead may well be difficult ones for the populist Right which, as Beckett rightly notes, may find middle-age harder than adolescence. But we should not kid ourselves. Many of the underlying drivers are just as prominent as they were four years ago. Which means that the 2020s could end up being just as volatile as the 2010s.


Matthew Goodwin is Professor of Politics at the University of Kent. His new book, Values, Voice and Virtue: The New British Politics, is out on March 30.

GoodwinMJ

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Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
3 years ago

Much as I respect Matthew Goodwin, he still writes as though we punters have a choice / voice in politics at a high level. We don’t, and indeed, never have. The difference though between now and 1950 or 1850 is that the Government has taken more and more control over our lives and holds that control more and more tightly. It is taking the trouble with this pandemic to try and convince us that a big bad wolf is coming to get us, but once we have succumbed to the great reset and handed over the keys to our bank accounts, our bodies and our minds, they won’t need to bother about what any of us think.

What makes our position even worse is that we will have nowhere to look for an alternative way of doing things – a global system means a global system.

The answer is to stop globalisation. It will mean a lower standard of living, but I believe will lead to a greater quality of life. National governments need to reassert themself and start thinking and acting independently.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cox

You need to consider the rise of the woke generation. The education systems of the developed world (higher and regular) are churning out these neo-socialists in such numbers that they will soon be the backbone of the managerial class. They are steeped in the intolerant, c**k-sure, value sets we have all come to know so well. Diversity of opinion is, for them, no more than a license to spread hate and lies ““ as such it must be suppressed. They “know” what is right and those who oppose them do not need to be heard ““ they need to be “re-educated”.

“…stop globalisation” (?!) The woke generation see national government as a tool to do good works by enacting/enforcing their beloved intersectional agenda. Get ready for rule by a coalition of aggrieved minorities, “undervalued” women, messianic environmentalists and any group who claim the white patriarchy has barred them from personal fulfillment.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

What you said about woke can be applied to large segments of Trump’s coalition. Many of them have turned on Fox because it called (correctly) Arizona for Biden….safe space for the patriots?

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Sorry, but that reads like a bit of idle whataboutery.

I know you always feel compelled to trot out the anti-populist message at every opportunity (UnHerd is littered with those offerings of yours) but could you flesh out your argument a bit for the benefit of one such as me. Just so you know: I don’t have a twitter/facebook/whatsapp account (don’t even have a mobile phone). I don’t watch Fox news, don’t get your “safe space for the patriots” remark and have never bothered looking at QAnon (another bugbear of yours).

I don’t know (or care) whether what I said can be applied “large sections of Trump’s coalition” (if coalition there be). My reply expressed concern at the rapid insurgence of highly a intolerant woke style activism into everyday politics and management. [I’ll take it as read that you think populism is the truly intolerant movement while “woke” is just journalistic shorthand for a range of much needed reforms that only the ignorant and oafish would oppose]

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Did I say that woke is tolerant?!
They are just as crazy as large sections of populist movements, but you wildly exaggerate the influence of woke/crazies on the society at large.
-Only 3% of the Latino population in USA uses the term Latinx. Most people (97%) use Latino/Latina.
-California (despite the summer riots) overwhelmingly voted against affirmative action.
-99.99999% of the population/families do not embrace the insane ideas of transgender children.
According to you what % of the 2019 graduate class is woke?

“UnHerd is littered with those offerings of yours” – almost everyone else here is a populists…so…

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Jeremy, you are becoming one hell of a bore.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

I am sorry I don’t embrace conspiracy theories

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Did the lizards tell you to say that?

alex bachel
alex bachel
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

If “99.99999% of the population/families do not embrace the insane ideas of transgender children”, then why are these theories being forced down our throats?

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  alex bachel

why are RWNJs fixated on things “… being forced down [their} throats?”

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  alex bachel

Forced how? Have “they” knocked on your door and asked you to become a tranny?

Pierre Brute
Pierre Brute
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Maybe not, but they will have you silenced or worse if you say negative things about them in public.

Robin P
Robin P
3 years ago
Reply to  alex bachel

then why are these theories being forced down our throats?

Because a small minority of extreme globalists control the centres of institutional power?

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

“I don’t know (or care) whether what I said can be applied…”

so you are saying you don’t know what you are talking about.

on that we can agree.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Ah! That old “So what you’re saying is…” move (made popular in a well known C4 News interview a couple of years ago).

All a bit troll-like, don’t you think ““ as is the jokey name you’ve chosen to use. Beware, the name may have seemed a hoot when you first chose it but at the head of comment after comment which I’m sure you hope to be taken seriously it just looks like an instance of sad adolescent humour.

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Notice how the trolls start getting snarky when they can’t win the intellectual argument ….

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Packman

The essence of troll behaviour is a conspicuous display of arrogance and contempt toward those they are addressing. They feed off the response to this provocation.

The troll aim is never straighforward discussion/debate but an attempt to capture debate by asserting that those who disagree only do so because they are fools or knaves.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

so you are saying you’ve nothing but ad hominem

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Ah! ad hominem ““ that good old Latin term given a new lease of life in the world of social media non-debate. Those who use it would like us to believe they value the genteel rules of sophisticated dicourse ““ or, for that matter, that they may possibly have a scholarly understanding of Latin.

Ad hominem ““ a fallacious belief in intellectual detachment expressing as it does the insufficiently challenged notion that you can detach ideas, beliefs and opinions from the character of person expressing them. Motivation, often politely ignored, is crucial.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Easy. Start sending the woke a statement of their share of the government debts. Not just the borrowing, the pensions, the PFI, the nuclear clean up all the debts.

Then watch as they shit themselves when you include the usual threats.

That’s the way to fix it.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Please could you define neo-socialism? As in what it is neo-socialists believe.

samuelbarrett1
samuelbarrett1
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

You can define it as being synonymous with new left thought and postmodern Social justice Warriors. For example the Lockdown left and the PMC progressive classes.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  samuelbarrett1

said the good old fashioned Neo-Nazi

samuelbarrett1
samuelbarrett1
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Don’t know whether your joking or not, if not: I feel sorry for you.

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

N Satori, Excellent points which I think are the result the progress of the Cultural Marxist assault on Western society. You said “Get ready for rule by a coalition”. The coalition is made up of the minority divisions of society mentioned, and others. Natural minorities and invented minorities are used as political tools to divide, disrupt, and cause chaos in our society and government. The purpose is to create an environment for change. That change is the fundamental transformation, the replacement of Capitalism with some form of Marxist system. All Marxist systems are run by a Central Committee which is your idea of “rule by coalition”. But here is the rest of the story. Out of the Central Committee always eventually emerges a single person who declares himself to be the “President for Life”. President XI of the CCP is a present day example.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

The replacement of capitalism by Marxism? It seems highly unlikely. Where do you see evidence for this? I perceive the ‘woke’ generation as being keen consumers and democrats. Are you talking about this concept you call “cultural Marxism” ?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cox

Well said.

My Chief off Staff tells me that both Heraclitus and Nietzsche would advocate a world war to frustrate golbalisation.

The only obvious target I can think of is China. ‘We’ should strike now, whilst we still have a clear advantage, to delay may prove fatal to Western Civilisation as we know it.

Martin Price
Martin Price
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Hold my beer………….

samuelbarrett1
samuelbarrett1
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cox

Could you unravel what you mean when you say: “[we need to stop Globalisation, but,] It will mean a lower standard of living.” Is that in relation to the Professional middle classes? Do you not think that a protectionist and sovereign nation state would be economically beneficial to many working citizens (vocational work for example) having to deal with a post-fordist economic model – as we find it now – in most European countries?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  samuelbarrett1

Yes. But only to the working citizen populations of those nations with a protectionist sovereign state that has been created over centuries. Personally, I think it’s wrong that some people starve and others are well fed due to an accident regarding their country of birth and the nature of its recent economic history. Humans could do better than that.

Alex Wilkinson
Alex Wilkinson
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Personally, I think it’s wrong that some people starve and others are well fed due to an accident regarding their country of birth

That people are born accidentally as what they are is a huge assumption. Hindus and Buddhists, for example, believe in reincarnation and that we get the physical body that best suits our consciousness.

Though believing that it’s all an ‘accident’ and we’re just as likely to have been born African as English is very convenient for anyone who’s having difficulty with the inherent inequality of the natural world.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Wilkinson

Reincarnation aside, for now. Guilty as charged. I do have difficulty with the inherent inequality of the natural world. That’s the whole history of humanity – mitigating the inequality of the natural world which made us physically weaker but intellectually stronger than animals.

samuelbarrett1
samuelbarrett1
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

True but it’s near impossible to implement such a goal – although warranted – without an intervention into the sovereignty of a nation state. Looking to America’s brutal anti communism throughout out the 20th and 21th century we can see that such a normative approach to foreign policy will only lead to a justification of intervention and in the most sinister of cases the justification of ‘good’ wars.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  samuelbarrett1

Is UK going to sell RR engines to china for planes (airbus)? What should the tariff be on that product? What would you tax Asian electronics? What happens to your model if (say) other countries don’t embrace trade protectionism?

samuelbarrett1
samuelbarrett1
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Those are some really important points Jeremy; trying to contextualise an argument in relation to an entire globally connected capitalist market is an incredible feat of which I don’t have the knowledge to tackle, perhaps, using the term protectionist holds too many connotations with isolationism… What I mean’t was a return to the sovereignty of the nation state which places its citizenry above its global commerce, whether that be implemented a law binding living wage to which any company on this counties soil has to abide etc. Outside of economics I think globalists ( holding a strong difference between a globalist and an internationalist) cannot hold claim as democrats; once a nation is transgressed so is democracy.

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
3 years ago
Reply to  samuelbarrett1

Hi Samuel – notwithstanding all the other comments here about winners and losers, I just meant that economic globalisation lowers prices to everyone’s benefit (in the round). Whilst wages may get depressed, it hasn’t been the case that wages fall faster than prices. Chinese workers have benefitted greatly through globalisation (in economic terms) whereas the West has gained a lot less. So our relative position is worse.

If we only had to concern ourselves with economics, I’d be in favour of open borders, open markets, global standards etc. But, as I put in my first post, economic liberalisation and open borders will destroy any country’s environment and social life as quickly as you can say mass immigration. Then there would be the imposition of a global government and that simply does not bear thinking about.

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago
Reply to  samuelbarrett1

I agree, it would allow an environment where the extremes of wealth & poverty could be addressed more effectively. Fewer filthy rich useless bankers and hedge fund managers for example.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cox

The difference between standard of living and quality of life is often unrecognised.

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Indeed. many Prime Ministers have waffled on about this sort of thing. Tony Blair even spent a considerable amount of (our) money on calculating some “Quality of Life Indicators”. Unfortunately, he found that so many of them were going down, that they had to be abandoned. Cameron also made similar statements, though he didn’t take it any further.

alex bachel
alex bachel
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cox

A lower standard of living for the middle class but a higher standard of living for the working class . I’m in favour of that.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cox

Globalisation has meant a lower standard of living for the West, in material terms and comfort. This is what Trump sought to reverse and why he won the election. It is dishonest to say he lost just because the big media companies are saying so and because the Big Tech billionaires are censoring all information to the contrary.

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
3 years ago

Hi Rosie – I’m not sure you are right about that. There have been winners and losers, but the ability to buy a better-than-ever TV for £200 means most people have got better off in simple economic terms. The UK as a whole may have done less well relative to others because we are on the way down, but I still think economically people are better off.

But (1) job security (2) job status and probably loads of other considerations mean a lower quality of life. Then there is also another elephant in the room – debt!

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

So the same media and tech that “gave” him the election in 2016 took it “away” from him in 2020?
Out of 13 court cases 12 have been thrown out for the lack of evidence.

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

No, the MSM vilified Trump just as energetically back in 2016 however the Globalists didn’t think for a moment that the dumb-ass ‘proletariat’ would defy their propaganda and vote for him! Their shock and disbelief was hilarious. Then started a 4 year campaign to impeach.
This time they have left nothing to chance and have sabotaged the Democratic process completely from hijacking all meaningful media including social, but it still didn’t work! So counting was suspended whilst plan B was put in place which was ‘fixing’ the vote. I don’t know much about the voting system in the States but it is obvious that there has been massive fraud and if these challenges are being thrown out of court then there are some judges out there getting their 30 pieces of silver.
The people will not stand for a bunch of soy-boy Tech on-the-spectrum sociopaths deciding how the world should be run!
Ironically, the capitalist Globalists are packaging themselves as ‘liberal socialist’ but they have no intention of living amongst the human filth! They will lock you in your homes and be the only ones travelling the world and they’ll continue to live apart from you on their islands. I’ve actually dubbed them the ‘Island Owning Psychopaths’. You disgust them. You are dirty and stupid and poor and if you think for a moment that they want what’s best for the human race, you are deluded. Funding violence and riots that bring death and misery to millions out of a will to do good?
They may legitimise their actions with ‘ends justify the means’ but I’m pretty sure Stalin and Hitler did something very similar to get to sleep at night.

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cox

You are right, Nationalism is the only antidote to the tyranny of Globalism, and will lead to less inequality…. but maybe a lower standard of living for all. Don’t know about you, but I would forgo a foreign holiday to be rid of Gates / Soros / Zuckerberg once and for all.

Until we have proper anti-corruption protections however, we will not have democracy. From Blair and his huge payouts from big business post-office, to Nick Clegg and his rather startling appointment to Facebook (really?) our anti-corruption laws need to be retrospective and extend way beyond time in office if they are to prevent these Eton boys from cashing in on selling their patronage whilst calmly committing treason at the same time.

We need to see some custodial sentences and a repatriation of ill-gotten wealth before these greedy and pointless career politicians are weeded out of our institutions.

Then we need to go after the Globalists who ‘bought’ the influence of these politicians, as well as members of the legislature, in order to circumvent anti-trust and laws and evade tax. Same. Custodial sentences and repatriation of stolen money to the countries that they defrauded.

It astonishes me that these revolting Globalists are packaging themselves as ‘socialists’!! They personify Capitalism-at-it’s-worst and amassed their wealth by corrupting democracies around the world and now they want us to believe that they have our best interests at heart? Jog on.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Packman

Sarah, you say that you’re astonished that Globalists would package themselves as socialists. But if we look at, not the ideal socialism which as yet exists only in socialists’ dreams, but the actual socialism that existed in the USSR and the PRC along with smaller versions, is that really so startling? A top-down system which allows no significant dissent from the lower orders pretty much always makes life very comfortable for the chief officials and/or capitalists, less but a still significant amount of high living for those needed to protect the chiefs, and devil-take-the-hindmost for all others. Indeed, what the various Communist parties which ruled their respective countries called “socialism” was really state capitalism, the government having taken over from both owner-operators and absentee owners. Nothing very puzzling about it, at least not to me.

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago

If Carrie & Boris go for their “Green Revolution”, it will kill the “Liberal” left wing stone dead.
We nearly had blackouts on the 4 & 5th of November. Our saviour was coal fired power stations and nuclear – which are scheduled to close.
C & B also want to phase out petrol cars and gas central heating, this will treble electricity demand to 120GW.
Wind power only works when the wind is blowing and on the 4 & 5th of November provided 3GW – only another 117GW to go!
You think that populism will die out? When people find that they cannot watch their TV, or cook, or drive, or heat their homes, I think that populism will sweep the board.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago

They also want to phase out gas boilers, aiming not just at the new boiler market but also to remove existing boilers. Those who refuse to spend thousands of pounds on new boilers will find maintenance and repair increasingly difficult as recruitment of new gb engineers will nose dive and older engineers will retire or retrain. After all, why would one enter or continue in a market with a death sentence over it?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Or there could be a massive state funded programme of replacement of gas boilers with new boilers, more offshore wind farms, tidal power etc that would provide jobs and training and careers for many and ultimately benefit all?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Precisely

kevinmcbarron
kevinmcbarron
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

But there is a magic money tree- it’s turned on right now ðƾ˜±

John Dowling
John Dowling
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Cloud cuckoo land. All “renewable” energy is expensive, occupies vast areas and does environmental damage out of all proportion to their (minimal) advantages. Germany, California and South Australia show the results of those policies. Expensive electricity, fragile power network and, in California, rolling power cuts. Checkout Dr David Mackay on youtube, download his book “Sustainable energy – without the hot air.”

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  John Dowling

Checked out his book. Seems to suggest a combination of green renewable, nuclear and international co-operation could be an answer. None of which is in contradiction to my post.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

and who’s going to pay for this “massive state funded program” you have in mind?

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Who do you think is going to pay for all of this?

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

I wonder how they think pensioners will afford new boilers and heating systems!

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Same way they do now – when their fossil fuel boilers are too old and unreliable to be worth keeping, the one they buy will be a heat pump rather than another one burning fossil fuel.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Boilers make themselves obsolete by becoming unreliable. I doubt that it will be necessary to remove them to achieve emissions targets, any more than highly polluting cars and lorries from 1990 or 2000 have been scrapped mid-life – they have lived out their life but when they give up the ghost, the owners buy replacements with more modern emissions specifications (whether that’s a 2020 vehicle, or a second-hand 2010 car). When fossil fuel boilers become obsolete, people will find that there are attractive heat-pump options which reduce national reliance on oil from the middle east or gas from Russia and don’t spew CO2 into the atmosphere.

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Whole Life Costing has proven that running a jalopy into the ground, even with it’ poor fuel efficiency, is more carbon efficient that buying your new Prius and having it shipped over form Japan.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Those are good points and they are already affecting the car industry.

Talk of crashing the market in petrol and diesel new cars, or bringing in road pricing, that are being floated in the media, raise more questions than they answer.

The idea that the increasing acceleration to ‘online’ by the economy will only hit lower paid workers has to be debatable.

I feel much white collar *professional* work is very susceptible to the sort of disruption that hit the media, PR, taxi drivers etc…anything where *if this – then that* describes much of the work, could be vulnerable.

And that is massive amounts of office work, call centre work, and even accountancy and legal work in contracts etc…which are already quite widely pro forma anyway as things stand now.

The new tech algorithims wouldn’t have to destroy the fee viability of all of the business activities, just enough of the lower grade repetitive ones to evaporate the profit margin needed to hold a company together.

Anyway I suppose we’ll see soon enough, and then whether populism is something that only *they* feel, and *we* discuss dispassionately.

Moore’s Law being most likely to only accelerate when A.I. really gets going.

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago
Reply to  Ted Ditchburn

There’s an assumption that Moores law has no end, but I wonder. It’s predicated on an ever increasing global consumerism. And it doesn’t operate uniformly across the world. If you live in one of the Delhi slums, you won’t be affected by the developments in AI.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

Both will need to be “re-educated through labour”. We cannot have hypocritical fatties telling us what to do for much longer.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

We’ve expanded electricity supply before and we’ll do it again. (Given the large role of profit-seeking venture capital in the energy transition, you don’t seem to have much confidence in the dynamism of the private sector? And even Shell and BP talk about the energy transition and decarbonising energy, they don’t parrot climate change denialism like some in the US.) Energy storage has various technical solutions. The UK Government is promoting nuclear, not banning it in a green gesture as your post implies – and the main problem with nuclear is its financial cost, which is higher than wind power now. The financial cost of renewables has plunged so far that there is coming to be a margin left over to overcome the storage problem with wind and solar. You end with a mix of energy sources including tidal, solar, wind and nuclear.

Incidentally, given your concern about UK electricity supply, you must be pleased at the progress made in reducing UK electricity demand via higher efficiency lighting, more efficient domestic appliances, and so on? I make that point because some in the US have made a fetish out of opposing the replacement of wastefully inefficent incandescent bulbs, and some in the UK a few years ago were making a fetish out of opposing higher energy efficiency standards for freezers and vacuum cleaners, which were introduced by the EU but would still have had to be introduced in a post-Brexit UK.

Populism doesn’t have to be based on denying the science of climate change and the need to take action. That just paints it into a corner.

Mark Gilbert
Mark Gilbert
3 years ago

To a significant degree, identitarianism has become the ideological cornerstone of the Left and our Liberal fraternity.

Gone is the conceptual priority of the working class. They are of little concern in the heady days of post modernism.

Trumpism was a resounding success in the 2016 and 2020 elections because too many see themselves as marginalised, demeaned and smeared by those who tend to feel better about appearing good than actually doing good for those much less fortunate than themselves.

Call it what you will, but as long as globalisation remains perceived as being mostly about a relatively small group’s self enrichment to the detriment of the rest, Leftism and our liberalism du jour are in for growing resentment and pushback.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Gilbert

“identitarianism” is a mythical fabrication equal to the Loch Ness monster only difference being the latter has greater chance of existing than does the former.

Mark Gilbert
Mark Gilbert
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Sounds like another manifestation of the white male patriarchy to me, Nun.

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

At what point are you going to present an actual argument instead of making snarky – and not as witty as you think – statements?

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Packman

pointing out comments that are exercises in dissembling or just outright lies as such becomes tiresome, my apologies for an attempt to break up the monotony of those who utilize Unherd as a just another right wing echo chamber.

Sarah Packman
Sarah Packman
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Gilbert

Well said

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

‘… significant numbers of people from LGBT communities in France support Marine Le Pen because of threats to their rights from groups that are back in the news,…’

With his ability to dance around the subject, Matthew could easily win Strictly.

Then this:

‘And what was Biden’s vision for a revitalised liberalism?’

The idea of Biden having a ‘vision’ is patently absurd. To quote the left wing Jimmy Dore, Biden is ‘a corrupt, war mongering death rattle’.

Matthew then talks about a compromise between the liberals and the populists. Personally, I believe we have reached the point where this is virtually impossible. The gulf between the two belief systems is simply too great.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

“In the same way, it is worth noting that significant numbers of people from LGBT communities in France support Marine Le Pen because of threats to their rights from Islamic extremists,
Read the article again!

Chris Mochan
Chris Mochan
3 years ago

‘Populism’ is a word so often used, and so seldom defined. More often than not it appears to mean ‘a politician or party with popular support, but I don’t like them’.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Mochan

“…politician or party with popular support…”

Who supports the other parties? Are their voters not people?

Chris Mochan
Chris Mochan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Well, quite. I’m not sure what point you’re making.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

Curious how ‘populism’ avoids those popular policies which would hit the elite.

A wealth tax is favoured by 60-80% in the UK apparently, but you won’t find Farage (public school*, millionaire City commodities trader) or Johnson (public school*, Oxford) proposing it. It might be a good idea or a bad idea, but it would be popular.

Any thoughts on that?

* UK meaning of ‘public school’

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

A wealth tax is favored by those who would not have to pay it. Is water also wet?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

That’s missing the point: a wealth tax is popular, but ‘populists’ would rather die than suggest it.

Suggesting that populism is a con, perhaps?

This relates to an Unherd item a week or so ago – the disconnect between those supporters of the recent UK populist policy (Brexit) who want security, localism and a limit to the excesses of the market (people who would often support a wealth tax, I guess) and those who see Brexit as a way to depriving those people of even those protections they do have as part of a race to the bottom and the UK becoming Singapore-on-Thames. The latter are often either personally rich or have adopted a pro-rich ideology. If the first group perceived that agenda, they would run a mile from it.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

That IS the point. Lots of things are “popular” among those who are unaffected. It’s easy to favor a tax increase on someone else.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

55% of US-based companies’ profits are routed through some unlikely looking jurisdiction such as Luxembourg or Bermuda, costing the US taxpayer $130bn (£100bn) a year. Another estimate puts the losses to developing country governments at many times the amount they get in foreign aid.

Solutions are conceivable: profits could be taxed globally, with national governments devising ways to apportion which profit is deemed taxable where.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Again, that’s not the point.

The point – and as I also keep writing, I am commenting about the UK from a UK viewpoint – is that a wealth tax would fit well with populism’s claim to be a revolt of the people against the elite, but nonetheless UK populists won’t suggest it. Inspect UK populists’ personal background, and it conforms to the stereotype of ‘soaked in privilege since birth’ more often than the stereotype of ‘doughty fighter for the people’.

Suggesting that, in the UK anyway, populism is a con. It’s a way of marshalling embittered people at the bottom of the heap to vote for a parcel of policies of which some are against their own interests.

UKIP for example struggled to suppress incautious past statements from its leaders that they wanted to abolish the NHS, or that they wanted to slash taxes for the really rich. Publicity about those triggered panic-stricken blanket assurances from UKIP leadership that there was no intention of doing that, but when you add that to the personal backgrounds of many UKIP leaders, and the absence of populist policies in areas such a wealth tax or workers’ rights, it was obvious where they were really coming from.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. UKIP started out as a left-wing anti-Europe party, for example.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Yes. Water is wet. Were you trying to say something more profound? People accept income tax as it seems vaguely progressive and fair. A wealth tax is even more progressive and fair and would actually result in more economic stimulation and growth. Fair – because wealth is something that happens when you have more money than you can spend and so it tends to get passed on to your family. Economic Stimulation – because it keeps money in circulation being spent rather than accumulated.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Were you trying to say something more profound
On the contrary, I’m pointing to the use of a poll from people who favor a tax they would never have to pay as being indicative of something.

A wealth tax is even more progressive and fair and would actually result in more economic stimulation and growth.
How is it fair, and how much of someone else’s money rightfully belongs to you? You’re advocating theft because someone might bequeath money to relatives rather than let govt seize it.
By the way, wealthy people do keep their money in circulation through investments and other vehicles. They don’t Scrooge McDuck swimming pools full of cash.

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

This “taxation as theft” trope is a hilariously bad misunderstanding of the nature of fiat currency.

Here’s a tip, Alex — the currency doesn’t feature images of rich people …

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Haller

I didn’t say ‘taxation is theft.’ I said believing yourself entitled to some wealthy person’s money gets into that territory.

The currency here has no imagery of the poors.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

So income tax, imposed on those working for a living, is a necessary evil but a wealth tax, imposed on those whose money works for a living isn’t? Or are you arguing for the abolition of all taxation/government?

Not sure what ‘imagery of the poors’ means.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Imagery of the poors was in response to a comment above re: how currency has no images of rich people. In the US, it tends to have pics of various Founders of the country.

I never said income was a necessary anything. It didn’t even exist here until about a hundred years ago, but today, it applies to roughly half the population, meaning the other half has no real skin in the game.

There is already a version of a wealth tax; it’s called the capital gains tax and applies to investment income, something the wealthy do in putting their money to work. Do you suppose society would benefit if they quit investing and instead shoved their cash underneath mattresses?

Anyway, my original point was about the poll showing people favored a tax they wouldn’t have to pay. That’s not exactly a profile in courage. The easiest thing in the world is to support something that has no impact on me.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

This discussion has deviated onto the issue of whether a wealth tax is desirable or not. My own point was that ‘populism’ is supposedly a revolt against the elite, yet the ‘populists’ would run a mile from proposing a wealth tax. (If you choose, you can try to argue that they wouldn’t do so because they recognise that the WT part of a genuinely populist agenda would be economically damaging (in your view), but they are perfectly willing to propose economically damaging policies such as No Deal with the EU and therefore trading with the customer for 45% of UK exports on WTO terms, which virtually no other nation does.) Which leaves me concluding that it’s a bit of a con.

Incidentally, Matthew Goodwin avoids addressing this rather obvious point in his book Revolt on the Right – I might be imagining it, but I wondered whether his clearly extensive access to UKIP, unusual for an academic given UKIP’s hostility to them, would be jeopardised if he threw doubt on their central conceit.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

My own point was that ‘populism’ is supposedly a revolt against the elite, yet the ‘populists’ would run a mile from proposing a wealth tax.
People who effectively revolting against govt are not going to suddenly advocate giving govt more money, even if they believe that money will be taken from someone else. Taxing the wealthy might have feel-good value, but it does nothing for the individual.

I’d settle for govt that can credibly manage the limited number of things that belong in the public sector – roads, courts, defense, and a few other basics. Look at govt the same way you look at any other provider of goods and services. Are you getting your money’s worth for the tax you pay? Perhaps you think so, but I suspect the majority of people do not believe they’re getting a great deal.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Alex, you’re writing from a US perspective and I’m writing from a UK one. The differences between the US and UK versions of ‘populism’ are significant, making it a problematic concept for the Unherd demographic to be discussing.

From a **UK** perspective: populists in the UK are not ‘revolting against government’. They are not asking for the NHS to be replaced with a private health system, least of all the US system which is almost universally regarded in the UK as appalling, nor for the UK benefits safety net to be pruned along hard-right ideological lines. Nor do they want the police or defence to be cut. So these things have to be paid for. They would like to pay less tax and they note that vast amounts of tax are avoided by the wealthy. For example: an adult on minimum wage pays 20% purchase tax (VAT) to replace shoes which are leaking water and leaving them sitting in wet feet for an hour after they get to work. An adult who buys a £5 million yacht pays no purchase tax if they register it in the Channel Islands rather than the mainland UK (as I was informed by a sales rep when I visited a boat show). Most supporters of populist parties in the **UK** – and certainly the ones we are encouraged to believe are ‘the people’, as distinct from the rich right-wing headbangers who don’t find the Conservatives right-wing enough – will have no problem in imposing a wealth tax on the banker who created the crisis in 2008, was bailed out by the taxpayer, and now registers his yacht in Jersey in order to pay not a penny in tax on it while they do pay tax on a new pair of shoes.

Or to take another example, the exemption of Eton College fees from VAT credits a wealthy family with £8600 a year. The cost to the taxpayer of sending the boy to a (free) state school would be £5000-6000 a year. So despite the parrot cry that people who educate their children privately are doing the rest of us a favour by saving us the expense of educating them in a state school, the reality is that we would actually save money if the families who send their children to Eton gave up on private education. And since most of them wouldn’t if VAT exemption were removed or at any rate capped so that the benefit did not exceed the cost of state education, the case for doing so is even stronger. But will “man of the people” Farage do so? – of course not. He is a product of the system of privilege.

Hence my suggestion that **UK** populism is a con.

Chris Mochan
Chris Mochan
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

The idea that the ‘populists’ ought to support a popular though potentially damaging policy is rather begging the question. The premise that the Brexiters and so on would be expected to support any anti-elite policy in order to gain political power has not been demonstrated, but forms the basis of your question.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

“…how currency has no images of rich people. In the US, it tends to have pics of various Founders of the country.”

you are a shameless prevaricator

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

neither does he…it is a typo he will turn into a fictional representation of something.

Derek M
Derek M
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

What do you mean exactly? All taxes are “wealth taxes”

Diarmid Weir
Diarmid Weir
3 years ago
Reply to  Derek M

Not really. VAT in particular is a ‘poverty tax’.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Derek M

I’m referring to a tax on accumulated capital rather than annual income.

But as I keep pointing out, the point is not whether it would be desirable or not, the point is that it would be popular but ‘populists’ will never suggest it because they are not really populist. That’s from a UK perspective.

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago

At this point the term “populism” is near meaningless. As far as I can tell, Goodwin’s definition is “politicians who offend the elite with policies they don’t like, or just by being uncouth.”

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  M Spahn

All populist parties in Europe are minority parties – are we to believe that c.86% of the German voters that did not vote AfD are the Elite?

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

There is nothing in my statement that would necessitate that conclusion. “Populism” seems to be used as a synonym for nothing more than “Offensive to Davos Man.” That holds true whether support for any given purported “populists” is broad or limited.

Ian B
Ian B
3 years ago

It’s a little premature to say Trump is on his way out. He very likely won the election and I believe he still has a very good chance of being the incumbent on 22nd January 2021.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian B

He almost certainly won the election. The scale and variety of voter and electoral fraud is colossal, and if allowed to stand will probably mark the end of democracy as we have known it. Whether or not he has a good chance of being the incumbent in January is somewhat less certain.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Fantasies, guys. You lost by 5 million popular votes and 74 electoral college votes.

Ian B
Ian B
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

I think that you will find that Trump, currently, has a lead in declared electoral college votes. Binden is only ahead in the MSM. As for the 5m votes, they stopped counting so that Biden could magically catch up. It’s up to the courts but I think the truth will come out and the Dems Dominion machines will be found to have added hundreds of thousands of votes to Biden, in a desparate attempt to get their man elected.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian B

Keep fantasising

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian B

“…declared electoral college votes.” not a thing.

Trump’s Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying the November 3rd, 2020, election was the most secure election in history. President Donald Trump continues to deny the results.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian B

BBC News this morning:

“On Monday, Republicans abandoned lawsuits challenging election results in four battleground states – Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – where Mr Biden was projected as the winner. No reasons were given for halting the legal action. Each case had been brought by voters – not by the Trump campaign or by Republican officials.

But in a consolation for Mr Trump, Georgia officials said they had found nearly 2,600 ballots that were not counted in a Republican-leaning county on election night. A voting official in the state, Gabriel Sterling, said the ballots were overlooked because of “a person not executing their job properly”. The isolated discovery was expected to improve Mr Trump’s vote count by a net 800, though not by enough to overturn Mr Biden’s lead of more than 14,000 ballots.

Georgia is conducting a statewide, by-hand recount because of the 0.3% margin separating the rivals. Meanwhile, the official overseeing the recount, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, told CNN on Monday that he had been coming under pressure from a fellow Republican, Trump ally and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, to disqualify legally posted ballots in certain counties. Mr Graham denied the claim…..”

So not a lot of joy there for Trump, One minor screwup which, when corrected, was too small to affect the result. Some political manoeuvring by a powerful Trump supporter to suppress counting of votes legally cast by Americans.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

If the fraud is colossal it should be easily proved!
When Trump lawyers go to court the insist (unlike Trump and YOU) that they are NOT claiming fraud.
You should read the court transcripts.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

you are a lying sack of trump and…

Trump’s Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying the November 3rd, 2020, election was the most secure election in history. President Donald Trump continues to deny the results.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian B

Seems like we have another ‘Ian B” on Unherd

FYI – I’ve converted my IA to a photo to keep things simple.

Welcome ðƾ‘

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian B

said yet another lying sack of trump.

Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying the November 3rd, 2020, election was the most secure election in history. President Donald Trump continues to deny the results.

Peter Mott
Peter Mott
3 years ago

“Demagogic populism is a symptom. Technocratic neoliberalism is the disease. Democratic pluralism is the cure.” Michael Lind from “The New Class War” (Kindle Edition).

Lind also concludes that (demagogic) populism usually fails because even when its leaders achieve power they have no allies. But he agrees with Mathew – it comes back.

I am not sure what democratic pluralism is, really, though I lived through it (“Beer and sandwiches at No10”). There is no sign of a new settlement yet – unless perhaps one can be constructed around environmentalism?

Mark Gilbert
Mark Gilbert
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Mott

Visit the get together of ” great and good”Davos one year to taste the reality of “democratic pluralism”.

It’s DOA, as my granny would say.

Mark Gilbert
Mark Gilbert
3 years ago

When Christiane Amanpour compares Trump to kristallnacht you know modern liberalism has gone round the bend.

A very nasty kind of madness, to boot.

Diarmid Weir
Diarmid Weir
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Gilbert

He’s not exactly partaking in a peaceful transfer of democratic power so far, is he?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  Diarmid Weir

Do go back in recent history to see how much and how often US elections have been disputed. It took Al Gore until Dec 13 – about 5.5 weeks – we are only on week 2. This is not unusual, but the gross hyperbole on the left is.

Diarmid Weir
Diarmid Weir
3 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

There was actual doubt about the outcome of that election. And Gore won the popular vote. There is none about the outcome of this one, and Biden is ahead on PV by 6 million!

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Gilbert

Rather astonishing that no?! Armanpour used to be a compelling reporter and then she went bonkers. That said, she did eventually apologize for her indiscretion but one does wonder where these brain-farts come from.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago

It’s not over because the mess hasn’t been fixed. It won’t be fixed.
No way that people in the UK can pay the £550,000 state debt that the globalists have run up. That’s per tax payer.

Peter Mott
Peter Mott
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

Then there will be inflation.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

“£550,000 state debt that the globalists have run up.”
If you bother to look at UK budget c.99% of the money is being consumed by the British people.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

That would be indeed impossible to pay back as it would be 1,200% of GDP. The real figure is more than ten times less.

Some debt will never be paid back because QE allows the printing of money to buy government bonds and then expunge them. The cost is inflation but in a deflationary environment that’s not a huge problem.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

actually clawing back the money corporations and the .01 percent [Monarchy] have salted away offshore will pay off the debt.

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
3 years ago

It’s difficult to have a discussion about something when the terms are so terribly muddled. “Populism” as presented in this article is a caricature of an actual, real historical movement in the US over 100 years ago. See Thomas Frank’s “The People, NO!” for all of the details:

https://us.macmillan.com/bo

As such, “Populism” is NOT necessarily nativist/nationalist reaction. It is the little people, the working classes, crying out against their exploitation by the elites.

The erstwhile parties of labour (US Democrats, UK Labour, European Social Democratic parties) have abandoned (some might go so far as to say betrayed) their constituents in favour of well-educated urban elites (the professional managerial class), as outlined in Piketty’s “Capital and Ideology.”

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Haller

Clintonian Third Way Democrats [Rockefeller Republicans all] and Blair’s New Labour.

“The erstwhile parties of labour (US Democrats, UK Labour, European Social Democratic parties) have abandoned (some might go so far as to say betrayed) their constituent…”

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

“It’s easy and safe to be in one or other of these two camps ““ defensive liberal or angry reactionary – but UnHerd is trying to do something different, and harder.”

Unherd’s aspiration is being undone by the right wing as they create yet another echo chamber to amplify their fact free propaganda.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

I don’t think Unherd is blameless in this. It claims to be a centrist publication but I think it’s actively clickbaiting the angry right. The title of this piece is a good example.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

absolutely the case.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I completely agree.

Auberon Linx
Auberon Linx
3 years ago

Matthew is probably right in claiming that populism is not dead. It is highly likely that the “populists” (a very heterogeneous group, lumped together by establishment’s disdain rather than any inherent features) will make a comeback in the next electoral cycle. The point, I think, is that neither the liberal mainstream, nor the populist challengers have any real solutions to the very real problems the world as a whole, and each country in its own way, are currently facing. That is why most headline-attracting elections in recent years have been against something, rather than for a brand new (or old) vision.

US 2016 election was a scathing repudiation of Hillary Clinton and all that she represents, rather than a ringing endorsement of Trump for president. Brexit was a strong rebuke to the EU establishment and the ecosystem built around it – not a unified vision of how to move forward (which is why it is so difficult to implement). Finally, even the most enthusiastic Democrat would struggle to keep a straight face in trying to argue the US 2020 election gives a strong mandate to Joe Biden – not only was his margin of victory far below expectations, but, beyond vague platitudes, no one really knows what his presidency is supposed to be about.

So what happens next? In a genuinely democratic system, the electoral pendulum would likely again swing towards “populism” when liberal establishment fails to deliver, as it is almost certainly bound to. And a new swing towards liberals when the populists disappoint again in their turn…

But there are other possibilities. The more likely one is that the system as a whole moves away from democracy. While the establishment was scaremongering against Trump and the Brexiters as ushering fascism, it is actually the supposedly liberal media who have led the way in shouting down any opposing opinions. The way any negative coverage of Biden was suppressed, and Trump himself muzzled was nothing short of scandalous. So it is possible that the winners in the next round of elections, both “populist” and “liberal”, will try to tilt a system in such a way that would make unseating them that much harder. What happens next is anyone guess.

A less likely, but more optimistic option is that there will be a long-needed realignment of the political forces. Some good ideas currently upheld by “populists”, insincerely and incompetently, might actually be incorporated into the mainstream. Some political packages make no sense at all: it is, for example, insane for the “green” parties to advocate open borders. The new electoral coalition built by the Tories in 2019 is a successful example, although they are now rowing away from it. In Austria, Denmark, even France to a certain extent, governments were able to increase their effectiveness and legitimacy by modifying their philosophy to better reflect the prevailing mood in the country. While the opprobrium of the establishment elites to any such attempt is harsh, this still remains the most likely way out of the current impasse between the liberals and populists.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Auberon Linx

“The new electoral coalition built by the Tories in 2019 is a successful example, although they are now rowing away from it.” – to deliver Brexit yes, but the economic interest of the Red Wall are very very different from the economic interest of the Tory shires.
BJ has gotten away by making a lot of empty promises like Levelling Up but he has provided no details.
Since unification WG has transferred c.ñ‚¬2 trillion to EG. That was achieved by higher taxation (unification tax) and by doubling the debt (during the 90s).
Let’s say that BJ plans to transfer £900B over 30 years, that comes to £30b extra per year. Where is the money? Taxes? Shifting public spending from South to the North? More debt?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Well I can’t disagree with you on any of that.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Auberon Linx

Yes, you are correct. It is the liberal media and establishment that is destroying democracy across the West. The future is looking very unpleasant indeed.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Elsewhere here:

Steve Eaton: “We have been brainwashed over the last 120 years or so to believe that Democracy is a desirable thing. ….. Marxists prefer Democracy. Democracy is 7 wolves and a lamb taking a vote on what to have for lunch.”

and

Boyd Conklin: proposal to launch a coup via Republican State legislators setting aside the votes of 150 million American voters.

Are Steve and Boyd well-disguised parts of “the liberal media and establishment”, or is it Trump-supporting extremists who dislike democracy and wish to undermine it? And BTW Fraser, Steve thinks you have been “brainwashed”!

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

As a semi-populist the biggest issue I have with populist is INCOMPETENCE. To paraphrase Ann Coulter about Trump: he tweets about is, so he considers it done.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

In what sense have the liberal globalist elites demonstrated any competence over the last 20 years? They have lied us into Iraq and various other warlike disasters, engineered and profited from the financial crash, created vast wealth inequalities, and completely failed to prevent illegal immigration and various terror attacks. They are utterly useless and completely immoral. At least Trump did not start any new wars, some jobs were returning to the Rust Belt, and the wall/fence was preventing quite a lot of the drugs and people trafficking etc. The chances are that all of this will now be undone.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Didn’t Trump bomb Syria and kill Soleimani?
Didn’t Trump blow up the budget?
According to US Customs & Border during Trump presidency the number of illegal crossing has doubled. Legal migration has been cut by 47%.
Trump thinks tweeting= getting stuff done.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Let’s see: Soleimani is dead. As I recall, many on the American left were upset about that.
Did he blow up the budget? Like his predecessor, with some help from virus relief measures.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

“Did he blow up the budget?”
Yes he did, it would take you 5m to google
Total US deficits Obama last 4 years – c2.1 trillion
Trump 4 years (pre Covid) – 3.5 trillion

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

The debt doubled under Obama. Doubled.

I’d like to see less spending, but neither side has an interest in that. Should Biden be sworn in, I fully expect pearl-clutching about debts and deficits to be treated like the Hunter laptop story.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Nice try! Obama wasn’t responsible for the Financial Crash
Just like Trump isn’t responsible for Covid budget debt.
I thought (we know now that they were LYING) conservatives cared about deficits? And Trump promised to balance the budget.

Hold tight to the “hunter laptop story”.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

You can’t have it both ways. Presidents play the hands they’re dealt. Obama came in during a recession, Trump had to deal with Covid. Presidents always get outsized credit or blame for things that happen while they’re in office.

I thought (we know now that they were LYING) conservatives cared about deficits?
That cuts both ways. The same leftists making noise about the deficit were silent on the debt when their guy was in office. Now, the script has flipped. And it will flip back should Biden be sworn in. It’s as predictable as the sun rising in the East, and almost as predictable is how this obvious truth is ignored.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I don’t know what part of Trump’s debt PRE COVID (I gave you the numbers above) you don’t understand?

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

On Trump’s first day in office (Jan. 20, 2017), the total U.S. debt stood at $19.95 trillion, up from the 11.9 trillion when Barack Obama was sworn in eight years earlier. As of Oct. 14, the debt under Trump had mushroomed to $27.1 trillion.

Some analysts look solely at publicly held debt (so not including U.S. securities held by federal agencies). That has risen sharply as well, from $14.4 trillion when Trump took office to $20.5 trillion at the end of June.

Analysts point to several reasons for the jump, including his tax cuts in 2017 and the federal response to the economic fallout from the pandemic.

Ledyard King, USA TODAY
3:41 a.m. PDT Oct. 27, 2020

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

President Obama inherited the global economic collapse that saw…

THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION: FEBRUARY 2009

Nonfarm payroll employment continued to fall sharply in February (-651,000), and the unemploy- ment rate rose from 7.6 to 8.1 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Payroll employment has declined by 2.6 million in the past 4 months. In February, job losses were large and widespread across nearly all major industry sectors.

https://www.bls.gov/news.re

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

“… lied us into Iraq…”

“…profited from the financial crash, created vast wealth inequalities…”

Republicans and conservative ideology built that.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

I don’t think populism is dead but I think what the US election reveals is the limits of populism. Trump ran a strong campaign. He mobilised 73m+ voters, up 10m+ from 2016. But the problem is the anti-populist forces are equally or even stronger than the populists at 78m+ voters and up 12m+ voters. Trump’s efforts to run up his base also mobilised his opposition.

Prof Goodwin is right to argue that demographics is not destiny. Trump increased his votes by 4% among African-American voters and 3% with Hispanics. But this is offset by him losing the African-American vote by 90% and the Hispanic vote by 65%. Just as liberal progressives are wrong to rely on demographics entirely the conservative populists are wrong to think they can ignore demographics either.

Prof Biden is also correct to point out that Biden has “said almost nothing about the cultural dimension”. But this polarisation has been going on for several decades and I’m sceptical even if Biden had won a landslide it would have gone away. As the COVID pandemic has revealed Republicans and Democrats can’t even agree on what the facts are.

I completely agree that Biden’s vision “was more anti-Trump than pro-Biden, more anti-populist than pro-liberalism”. Prof Goodwin is also correct “so far that vision [for a revitalised liberalism] does not seem to exist”. But I think he’s discounting the appeal of “aside from managing coronavirus more effectively”. I suspect that currently the mood is for ‘competency’ over ‘culture’ especially when the world is facing a global pandemic.

And herein lies the fundamental problem with populism. Populism is a political stance that claims that legitimate power rests with ‘the people’ not the elites. But it remains silent concerning what should be done, what policies should be followed, and what decisions should be made. And this problem is not going away even if populism makes a comeback.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

About a dozen House seats flipped to red; it’s even odds that the Repubs keep the Senate. There was apparently no shortage of ballots that had the presidential box as the only election filled. I’m not sure if anti-populism fits. A lot of folks hated Trump, many of whom had the opposite view of the man before he ran for office.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

“…even odds that the Repubs keep the Senate.”

which means it is even odds the McConnell will no longer be Senate Majority Leader.

Derek M
Derek M
3 years ago

That’s why leftists (Labour in the UK and the Democrats in the US) are so keen on mass third world immigration, it provides them with new voters, the fact that it harms the existing working class (whom these parties supposedly represent) is irrelevant. By a happy coincidence it also has the support of big business who get a cheaper and more compliant workforce

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Derek M

I don’t think the Democrats can take this for granted anymore. While recognising that Hispanics are very far from being homogeneous, Trump definitely picked up more Latino voters in this election compared to 2016. He captured almost half of this group in Florida, up from 35% in 2016. Biden also lost support among Latinos in Georgia and Ohio 16% in Georgia and 24 points in Ohio, compared to Hillary at 40% and 41 points respectively.

I don’t think its just Labour who are keen on immigration. While its true that net migration fell from 256,000 to 161,000 between 2010-2012 (Conservative govt), it rose again in 2013 (Conservative govt) to 208,000, to 309,000 in 2014 (Conservative govt) and rose again to 329,000 in 2015 (Conservative govt). Although it declined after that, it rose again in 2019 from 232,000 in 2018, to 270,000 in 2019 (Conservative govt).

I certainly agree that it has the support of big business who give donations to both the left and right parties.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

You can have democracy, or you can have the consent of the governed. You can’t have both. Someone like Trump rises when enough of the populace believes govt is no longer working for us, but acting as if the opposite is true.

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

“You can have democracy, or you can have the consent of the governed.”

This strikes me as an odd claim — isn’t democracy a process by which the governed grant their consent?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Haller

A democracy is a system in which the majority wins, period. That is one reason why the US is a constitutional republic where minority rights are protected.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

the US is a Constitutional democratic republic but thanks for playing along at home.

Diarmid Weir
Diarmid Weir
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Ultimately, the majority wins. Because it is better than the alternative, which is that the minority wins. But there is much more to successful democracy than voting. The majority is best-served by dialogue with the minority, and vice versa, to find solutions that suit both.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Diarmid Weir

“Ultimately, the majority wins.”

unless and until election law allows money to be equated to free speech and corporations to be “people too my friend.”

steve eaton
steve eaton
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Haller

We have been brainwashed over the last 120 years or so to believe that Democracy is a desirable thing. The US is a republic which means that it is rule by law not by popular opinion which can be bought with freebies bought by other people’s money which only takes convincing all of those who will share in the booty to agree to confiscate it. That is why Marxists prefer Democracy..

Democracy is 7 wolves and a lamb taking a vote on what to have for lunch.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  steve eaton

Would you like to abolish democracy in the US, since you dislike it so much?

If so, what would you replace it with?

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

I think we all know what he would replace it with.

steve eaton
steve eaton
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

I would have the system that was written into the Constitution of the United States, which is a Constitutional Republic within which the representatives of the various shareholders are elected in a democratic manner.

We do not have a Democracy in the US, though if the Left has their way we will have. There was not much talk of democracy in the US documentation previous to the 1st WW. Even the military handbooks referred to the US as a Republic. Somehow around WWI, all of those books and documents started being edited so that we were now calling ourselves a “democracy”.

Of course “Democracy” was real big back then with the populists of their day. It really caught on in places like Russia. Our version was the very Progressive Woodrow Wilson. He is the one who formalized the fetish for “Democracy in opposition to the founders of the nation. And who pushed us towards a one world government.

You are correct on at least one point. That is that I do hate the rule by the mob known as Democracy. Though I do like the principles of democracy to inform my Republic.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  steve eaton

do you sport a Charlie Chaplin mustache with you crisply starched brown shirt?…or do you lean to Mosby’s black as a fashion statement.

steve eaton
steve eaton
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Typical….If you aren’t a commie you must be like Hitler…Yawn…

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  steve eaton

typical, right wing extremists who flaunt their vile ideology won’t take ownership when confronted with it.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Democracy IS the consent of the governed you mealy mouthed git.

Jay Bird
Jay Bird
3 years ago

Surely populism occurs when the status quo is not working for enough people and a loud-mouthed idiot managed to convince enough people that he/she has a magic formula to change everything. Of course such rabble-rousers need a convenient scapegoat group eg Jews, Mexicans, Europeans and recent underlying economic decline eg 1930s Germany , 2010s recession. The formula is not complicated to recognise.
The solution is simple.
1 Take note that there is a problem and don’t ignore it.
2 Ensure leaders are clever enough to understand what the problem is and humane and articulate to inspire people towards the pursuit of better policies
3 zero tolerance of hate words or actions against potential scapegoats
4 policies to eradicate economic injustice and promote just distribution
5 promote security and affordable housing to give people security
6 encourage aspiration to a better life with satisfying opportunities based on good health and community strength

It’s not rocket science. Ask any ordinary person what they want from life!

Derek M
Derek M
3 years ago
Reply to  Jay Bird

zero tolerance of hate words or actions against potential scapegoats – as defined by who exactly? You?

Diarmid Weir
Diarmid Weir
3 years ago

This whole discussion of populism seems very confused. If populism ‘frames politics as a battle between ordinary people and corrupt elites’ it leaves completely open who we think those elites are and what it is that they are doing that we object to.

I happen to believe strongly that ‘corrupt elites’ are opposing the interests of ‘ordinary people’, but I also believe that those elites have been instigating and propagating most of the ‘populist’ movements in their own interests. They scapegoat others to draw attention away from their own monopolising of power, wealth and information, and they CAN do it because of those monopolies.

The common forms of populism we have seen so far thus have nothing to recommend them – they are a dangerous sham. The only ‘populism’ worth a damn is one that equalises power over political processes, wealth and truth – in other words, a thoroughgoing democratic revolution.

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago

I have a vague idea why populism has declined or gone into retreat.

It’s to do with these kind of associations …..

> people power
> power to the people
> power to the voters
> politicians craven to rather than leading voters with visions

Populism fragments into identity politics (= divisiveness > protest > violence)

Populism also splits into left wing versus right wing issues

> socialism vs capitalism
> pro-immigration vs anti-immigration
> equality of outcome vs equality of opportunity
> permisssiveness vs authoritarianism
> image vs reality
> touchy-feely emotional indulgence vs rationalism
> virtue-signalling versus charaity begins at home

Populism is mostly based on right wing values
Many people dissociate from these right wing values which have become ugly
The media are mostly Champagne Socialists and encourage that dissociation

Eventually people will realise and experience the downside of left wing ideology
At which point a central position will emerge which also accomodates riight wing values

That correection to a middle ground will take time
A centrist Conservative government will need backbone (don’t hold your breath)
Meanwhile divisiveness, protests and violence will continue
Immigration will continue
Terrorism will continue
The rise of Islam into the West will continue (perhaps sprearheaded by Turkey)
Climate change measures will introduce a Soylent Green lifestyle in the West
Thanks heaven for mortality!

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
3 years ago

This argument fails on two counts:

1. Liberal societies that allow unlimited tolerance of intolerant populism fail because the tolerant are inevitable displaced by the intolerant (Karl Popper’s “Paradox of Tolerance”). The only way for liberal societies to avoid this outcome is to establish political institutions for (carefully) managing the intolerant. For this to work, we have to insist—and accept—that “the will of the people” only has valid meaning when expressed through political institutions. Otherwise, intolerant populists simply bypass constitutional safeguards and seize power anyway. Populism is a profound threat to liberal democracy.

2. To argue that society can submit to populism because the popular will is sometimes responsible is indistinguishable from arguing that supermarkets can sell assault rifles because people who buy assault rifles are sometimes responsible. We deny ourselves the convivial outcomes that might be enjoyed by the responsible because of the catastrophic consequences for us that might be created by the irresponsible. (This argument is no-doubt less persuasive in societies that seem perfectly content to endure such catastrophic consequences, although it remains to be seen how content they are now populist movements such as Black Lives Matter are purchasing assault rifles in large numbers.)

These objections are well understood and I’m surprised that a Professor of Politics has not at least acknowledged them.

For examples it is necessary to look no further in the UK than Brexit and Covid (the latter being the catastrophic populist response to a virus with a 99.6% survival rate). Both involve significant moral hazard of conflicting interest; both involve the mass manipulation of populist sentiment; both involve extreme intolerance of opposition to populist viewpoints; both involve the almost complete bypass of our constitutional safeguards.

Our worry should not be conditional on whether we happen to approve of Brexit or Covid, but on what appears now to be possible through populism, and what therefore can happen when a populist demagogue seeking power over us comes along of whom we do not approve.

No-one doubts that we have serious problems, and that those problems are rooted in serious defects in our institutions. But we fix these problems by fixing our institutions, not by giving illiberals, totalitarians, and fascists access to power over us by making it even easier to bypass them.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Lyon

But you can only fix the institutions by fixing the minds of those who run and occupy them. And that is impossible because for many years those minds are now impermeable to all reason or integrity.

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

And yet here we are. The only difference between permeability and impermeability is pressure i.e. numbers.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Lyon

don’t agonize”organize

hijiki7777
hijiki7777
3 years ago

The problem populists have is with power. Liberals may be lacking vision but it was Trump who failed to answer what he would do in his second term. It reminds me of when the BNP took control of Barking council, but having acheived that they had never seriously considered what to do when they got there, and Labour were able to attack them for incompetence and went on to defeat them soundly. Trump has been notably incompetent in dealing with the Corona virus, yet something I would like to understand better is how it was that the worst affected states; Wisconsin and Florida turned out to be a lot more pro Trump than the polls suggested.
Personally I do not consider the rise of populism to be a good thing. There was a lot of cruelty in the Trump regime for example towards the children of the migrants that crossed the Mexican border. At one stage we were on the brink of nuclear war with North Korea, and then in a matter of days Kim Jong Un suddenly became Trump’s best friend. This was absurd either way, and very dangerous.
It has forced progressives – although most have not taken up the offer – to take a better understanding of class, not based on some comfortable neo-Marxist model of economic class struggle but as it is in the real world. I am personally not at ease with this as it forces me to consider supporting policies I personally do not like or agree with. Politics is often the ultimate art of confirmation bias for whatever you personally believe in.
Trump was not unlucky with the pandemic. Governing politicians will always get crises like these, and there are undoubtedly more pandemics on the way in the future. Populists such as Trump and Bolsinaro have no idea how to respond to these and their supporters taking their lead will suffer the most as a result.

Ian B
Ian B
3 years ago
Reply to  hijiki7777

The US under Trump fared no worse than the 6 largest countries in the EU, which collectively have a similar population. MSM will always print rubbish about Trump because it feeds their left leaning audience.

Derek M
Derek M
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian B

Overall Trump had a pretty good record, but the US has another corporate, globalist war-monger in charge so back to normal

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Derek M

“Overall Trump had a pretty good record…”

specifics please

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  hijiki7777

Conservatives’ “vision” is limited to the rear view mirror.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Biden has yet to offer a ‘vision’ and Kamala never gave a press event during the campaign so that she could be queried. We are all wondering what Biden has on offer. Trump made promises and kept them, which is why he is wildly popular amongst his supporters.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  hijiki7777

we are all unemployable now.

it is the right wing that is trapped in a “…neo-Marxist model of economic class struggle…” as the coming wholesale destruction of jobs at the hands of AI paired with quantum computing will make plain.

lawyers, college professors, engineers, writers, doctors medical researchers will be facing the same economic dislocation experienced by shop floor workers, hamburger flippers, drivers of every motorized vehicle”terrestrial and airborne, warehouse workers, construction workers.

David Shaw
David Shaw
3 years ago

‘Populism is something that kicks in when our democracies become too remote and detached from the people…….’ like in this pandemic where there is now a majority that ‘know’ lockdowns are not the correct solution.
I don’t subscribe to the opinion of Geoff Cox about Government control. Surely Brexit and the rise of UKIP then BREXIT party showed us that the mainstream parties, fearing the new opposition, had to shift! We see now again as the BREXIT party morphs into the Reform party to fight against lockdowns, nepotism and the ‘woke’ agenda that a party is being designed and specifically used to confront ‘Big Government and the ‘Liberals’. It has worked before and whilst I agree with the majority of Matthew Goodwin’s article, I don’t believe Populism will have to wait until 2024/5 before coming back strongly. I rather think it is wishful thinking of the Guaardian!

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

What follows is a UK-based comment: I have no idea whether it applies in the US, very possibly not.

I wonder whether there is even a theoretical potential for a UK populism which has appeal to those who have grown up in the UK since the 1950s? Support for the populist right in the UK has a pretty disastrous age profile. (If you choose to, you can try to persuade yourself that today’s UK 35 year olds will acquire the mindset of UK 65 year olds by 2050, but I wouldn’t bet my own money on it.) What would populism look like if it stopped being silly – to take only one example among many, if it stopped denying the science of climate change and thereby painting itself into a corner by antagonising anyone who is willing to look at facts – and focused on its core objective of backing ‘the people’ rather than ‘the elite’?

Any ideas?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

What would populism look like if it stopped being silly – to take only one example among many, if it stopped denying the science of climate change and thereby painting itself into a corner by antagonising anyone who is willing to look at facts.

People who use “denying” signal no interest in debate, just in declaring anyone who disagrees as illegitimate. In other words, painting themselves into a corner by antagonism.

But for debate’s sake, let’s assume everything that you believe about climate change is true – ignoring how the avg surface temp in the world has climbed all of one degree since 1880. Why would anyone entrust politicians and bureaucrats with the answer?

Govt struggles to manage potholes, education, and law enforcement. Why should I believe that the govt class is uniquely capable of managing climate by policy?

croftyass
croftyass
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

the science of climate change sounds impressive doesn’t it-as does “we are following the science” ..which would be dandy if “science ” was a simple homogeneous block of irrefutable fact which it isn’t-and then we have the pseudo science of epidemiology and “public health” which appears to have adopted the mantle of complete certainty when its no more than than a very flawed mathematical forecasting methodology .Add to that the rather poor practitioners of this “science”-(witness “Professor” Neil Fergusons truly shocking track record amongst many examples) and that the political decision makers appear to be almost exclusively comprised of liberal arts graduates and the inherent bias in the assumptions made in the models then the whole concept of a scientifically driven objective policy becomes not only a farce but a tragedy.If you need a good belly laugh just ponder Bojo’s pronouncements on wind farms-hilarious.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  croftyass

The science of climate change shows, among other things: (a) the planet is warming very fast relative to historical changes (b) the main cause is manmade emissions of greenhouse gases, predominantly CO2 but also methane, hydrofluorocarbons, nitrous oxide and sulphur hexafluoride (c) this warming will have serious effects on humans (hundreds of millions of refugees from desertification and sea level rise), and animals and plants (mass extinctions).

If you aren’t prepared to accept the scientists’ verdict on those, do you also believe that scientists and engineers are incompetent in other areas? I guess you won’t be flying on a plane, taking a medicine, getting vaccinated, buying a car, allowing a surgeon to operate on you and your family…? Nor supporting a defence equipment procurement programme which is based on thousands of engineers designing an aircraft which can fly or a missile which will hit the enemy rather than friendly forces? Or do scientists suddenly become incompetent only when the results of their peer-reviewed research show that we need to raise our game?

The recent obituaries of Mario Molina, who discovered the effect of CFCs on the ozone layer in the 1970s, reminded me that in those days the CFC industry set up a front organisation and hired spin doctors to spread doubt over the scientific facts – just as certain US oil companies have done over global warming. But the world disregarded the CFC industry’s self-interested attempts to keep selling products which would have caused millions of cases of skin cancer if CFC emissions had continued. Do you accept that we were right to phase out CFCs via the Montreal Convention, or was that a plot by wicked liberals who undermined the sacred right of the industry to produce whatever it liked?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

“let’s assume everything that [I] believe about climate change is true” – translation: let’s assume that the overwhelming evidence from tens of thousands of scientific studies, NASA measurements of polar and mountain ice thickness, etc, are true. You know, like we do when we “believe” that the earth is approximately spherical rather than flat. Or when we “believe” that the earth was created 15 billion years ago, rather than in 4004 BC, on a day stated to be a Tuesday. Or we “believe” that mankind and apes evolved from a common ancestor, rather than being created unchanged and the fossils in the rocks being something we can’t explain – as (don’t deny it) a significant number of Republican supporters believe, and few Republican politicians outside California and a couple of other places dare to deny because it’s dangerous for them to upset their base.

“ignoring how the average surface temperature in the world has climbed all of one degree since 1880” – the ten hottest global years in the last century are all in the last 20 years. Sea levels are progressively obliterating islands in the Maldives and large delta areas in Asia. The great barrier reef of Australia is progressively being destroyed by the temperature rise. Not in the future, now. Sorry to confront your echo chamber with facts.

Yes, we need wise Governments (and sadly the US Republicans have voluntarily abandoned that role since the 1980s with their lurch into extremism) to set targets, followed by mechanisms such as carbon pricing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions using market forces. And some judicious regulations, such as demanding that US vehicles become more fuel efficient, or the regulations which have pushed wasteful incandescent lamps into extinction in Europe.

Tell me, does your corrosive dislike for Government extend to the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars on defence, US political interference in much of the rest of the world, or the US Government deciding who does and doesn’t enter the US either temporarily or permanently? You seem so extreme on the issue that I could imagine you would be consistent and oppose Government interference in those areas too. But since I note from your comments elsewhere beneath Matthew Goodwin’s post that you agree with me that Government should take a strong role in those areas, there’s no logic in assuming that Government becomes totally incompetent when it then demands that vehicles should be better engineered to reduce CO2 emissions and leaves the auto companies to work out how they do it, for example.

My original question remains: what would populism look like if it jettisoned the absurd bits and focused on really opposing the elite?

boyd conklin
boyd conklin
3 years ago

Trump got 410 electoral votes, the states will decide the election, one vote a piece. The corruption of the election can not be untangled at this point by recounts. Next election should be a bit more “legal”. Trump will complete his second term. Starting January 2021, Biden is history. Populism is just getting started, Boris will be replaced by Farage, because Boris is afraid to lead, and thinks the big issues of the day are trangenderism and the Paris accords.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  boyd conklin

LOL

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  boyd conklin

Are you sure Trump didn’t get 538 electoral college votes rather than the 410 you claim or the actual 232? Surely no true American could vote against him, and therefore Biden votes should be disqualified purely on that basis?

“The corruption of the election can not be untangled at this point by recounts” – translation: when you count the votes, Trump lost.

But seriously……. you discredit your own views on UK politics when you come out with such stuff about the US. And when Farage’s Brexit party stood alongside Labour and Boris Conservative candidates (Farage didn’t withdraw them in constituencies where Labour had won in 2017), the Boris Conservative defeated Farage’s Brexit candidate in all or virtually all cases. Farage is now desperately seeking relevance by seeking publicity for something, anything.

john freeman
john freeman
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

The Peterborough by-election. I said, The Peterborough By-Election . . .

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  john freeman

The Brexit candidate was beaten by Labour but did beat the Conservative, agree. But the result (in both the above respects) was reversed at the 2019 General Election, when people get more serious than they do in by-elections when they know that nothing will really change. Overall, just more proof that Farage and the Brexit party are washed up.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  boyd conklin

delusional poppycock and a bald faced lie…OR…delicious sarcasm?

Farage becoming the next PM is plausible as the UK devolves back to its resting state of “Bloody England.”

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  boyd conklin

“the states will decide the election, one vote a piece….the corruption of the election can not be untangled at this point by recounts “

To be clear, you would like the votes of around 150 million American voters to be set aside and Republican-controlled State legislatures to launch a coup against American democracy by installing Trump?

If so, what is the difference between that and Fascism?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  boyd conklin

I dig your vision : )

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

“Donald Trump is leaving the White House, Dominic Cummings has left No 10 Downing Street…”

so Cummings is the real author of Brexit and everything that has emanated from No.10 for the past two years?

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

another point to consider…

Angrynomics by Eric Lonergan, Mark Blyth

Economics increasingly fails to explain why the pressures of life appear to be intensifying at the same time as income per capita is rising, or why we work more hours for less money in real terms. And why we see the rise of nationalism everywhere when globalization, on average, has made us all richer. The disconnect between our experience of the world and the economic model used to explain it has given rise to “angrynomics”: an economy of heightened uncertainty and anger, where faith in the workings of markets and politics has been undermined and rapid and seemingly ever-accelerating economic change has become something to be feared.

Eric Lonergan and Mark Blyth have written a book for anyone anxious, worried ““ or angry ““ about the mismatch between how they experience the world with the increasing day to day pressures they face and the model used by economic elites and politicians to explain and justify it. In a powerful and passionately argued analysis, they bring their critical insight and expertise to bear on the nature of angrynomics and offer a set of radical and innovative policies that cut across tired party political lines ““ and that if implemented might just help the world to be a less angry place.

“Goodreads

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

I’m optimistic that Goodwin is wrong. Trump’s exit will now hasten the fall of the populists elsewhere and political conversation can return to more intelligent debate instead of tribalism and name-calling.
Having said that, globalisation is here to stay and, if anything, covid and homeworking will start pushing the white collars out of work also. If AI and/or developing world graduates can do the job, the prospects also look bleak for western lawyers, accountants and researchers.
Populism and nationalists won’t be the solution though. There’s no precedent for capitalism ever winding itself backwards to a less profitable version.
I understand the roars of anger from the more conservative and traditional parts of society, but the times they are a changin’ and they better get used to it.

Jack Arnon
Jack Arnon
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Hope you are right.

stephensjpriest
stephensjpriest
3 years ago

Dear Matthew

This Is How Great Reset Will End Western Democracies
Mahyar Tousi
You Tube watch?v=Fk2W7rOFatg

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

Trump has amplified voting falsehoods in over 300 tweets since election night.

And many on these threads echo those falsehoods

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

your para 1: So what? We now know he’s even nuttier than we thought

your para 2: many of these threads do NOT echo those falsehoods

You might want to venture one stage further and say something of interest

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Alka

the Unherd is unfortunately on the path to becoming just another RWNJ echo chamber…and then again that is what was always intended.

john.hurley2018
john.hurley2018
3 years ago

I think the answer lies in evolutionary psychology. If you are woke you are part of a religion but if not you look for a sense of belonging which cannot be found in a state which “celebrates diversity”. Without uniqueness we are all just grey (except for elites) and that affects self esteem. If that is true it will always be there and the populists just tapped into it. It will take more scholarship (as a proportion of scholarship) and journalists etc. A new paradigm in public awareness could see things flip?

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

QAnon is the religion of right wing sleepers who get their dogma from a disembodied entity speaking to them from the ether.

A paradigm in public awareness informed by unfounded conspiracy theories and outright falsehoods”this way madness lies.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Grammatically correct, syntax acceptable, punctuation perfect, well done!

Is that American education or perhaps the UK Comprehensive system?

Perhaps you are not as high up Mt Hood as I had thought.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

I’m guessing that 95% of Republicans in the USA don’t know what QAnon is….it’s just not ‘a thing’ except for the paranoid Left.

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago

For me, right populism is about national sustainability, national resilience and national sufficiency on political, economic, cultural and ecological levels whereas left populism is about global sustainability, global resilience and global sufficiency on those levels.

However, for global populists to create a global human consciousness, they need to create trust between different nationalities, which so far hasn’t been that successful because of Brexit and the rise of national populism.

National populists also rely on trust to build national human consciousness, which appears to be elusive too due to the EU and global populists.

However, the national populists have an advantage, the goals of sustainability, resilience and sufficiency are easier to fulfill especially as the global populists do not have a comprehensive global framework by which to manage the global commons, especially in relation to the ‘commons dilemma’.

Thus, as demonstrated by Brexit and the recent Conservative Party victory, right populism has been acknowledged and incorporated to create national sustainability, resilience and sufficiency (with the assistance of sars2).

For me, the growing recognition amongst the middle class that we need to create sustainability, resilience and sufficiency is something that is naturally deep in the bones for the working class. Hence the growing interest in Centre Right national politics amongst the working class in the UK conditional on the Conservative Party delivering on it’s election promises.

Ă°Ćžâ€ĄÂŹĂ°Ćžâ€ĄÂ§Ă°ĆžÂÂŽĂłÂ ÂÂ§ĂłÂ ÂÂąĂłÂ ÂÂ·ĂłÂ ÂÂŹĂłÂ ÂÂłĂłÂ ÂÂżĂ°ĆžÂÂŽĂłÂ ÂÂ§ĂłÂ ÂÂąĂłÂ ÂÂłĂłÂ ÂÂŁĂłÂ ÂÂŽĂłÂ ÂÂżĂ°ĆžÂÂŽĂłÂ ÂÂ§ĂłÂ ÂÂąĂłÂ ÂÂ„ĂłÂ ÂÂźĂłÂ ÂÂ§ĂłÂ ÂÂżĂ°Ćžâ€ĄÂźĂ°Ćžâ€ĄÂȘĂ°Ćžâ€™â€”Ă°ĆžÂÂ”ĂŻÂžÂĂ°ĆžĆ’ÂŒĂ°Ćžâ€™ÂźĂ°ĆžĆ’Âž

Diarmid Weir
Diarmid Weir
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Gwynne

That would be all very well if the Conservative Party had any real interest in national solidarity. Even then, the modern world cannot be managed by individual nations retreating into our own bunkers.

L P
L P
3 years ago

I wish that someone could tell me what populism is for, rather than against. Trump’s version of populism was a lot of “against” (immigrants, science, and environmental protection), but also tax cuts for the rich (including his own family and cronies), tariffs, and anti-consumer positions in finance, which were not in the interest of the people who voted for him, but were confused and wrapped in mendacious rhetoric. Perhaps he was elected due to populism, but his economic and environmental policies are hard to label as populist.

Jack Arnon
Jack Arnon
3 years ago

There is no single populism movement which makes it hard to measure even in a single country much less globally.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

“We might have a vaccine but we also have the largest pile of debt since the Second World War. Somebody still needs to pay for this crisis.”

indeed we might and I suggest we put this guy to work…

The Wealth Detective Who Finds the Hidden Money of the Super Rich
Thirty-two-year-old French economist Gabriel Zucman scours spreadsheets to find secret offshore accounts

Bloomberg; May 23, 2019

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

more normalization of the far right under the imprimatur [pretense] of intellectual rigor

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

“Early Biden executive orders will likely focus on cancelling funding for the wall…

to what “funding of the wall” does Goodwin refer?

Steve Bannon’s scam non-profit that he stole over $1 million dollars from?

or maybe he is referring to…

“The U.S. Department of Defense plan to reduce the funding available for a military-retirement program in order to contribute to the construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall.”

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

Goodbye, Right-Wing Populism

A Trump defeat signals the beginning of the end of nationalist populist politics worldwide.
By Denis MacShane, October 3

“Sensible middle-of-the-road politicians govern in the EU’s three Nordic member states of Sweden, Denmark and Finland as prime ministers. They are all social democrats, but offer a balanced political approach.

“The pandemic has exposed the hollowness of both of the populists’ punchiest suggestions. They argued that, nations were submerged by immigrants and, that by adopting 1930s-style orthodox fiscal economics and deregulation, the economies would do much better.

“The world has seen foreign immigrant doctors and nurses putting their lives on the line to look after patient in hospitals. This includes Britain, with care homes in nearly every country is completely dependent on immigrant workers.”

“Brexiternity. The Uncertain Fate of Britain” published by IB Tauris-Bloomsbury, London, October 2019.
Denis MacShane
UK’s Minister for Europe from 2002 to 2005

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

“As Michael Lind points out in UnHerd, one of the big political narratives about populism ” that it is mainly a refuge for old white men ” has imploded as Hispanic, Latino, Cuban American and women drifted toward the outgoing incumbent.”

confirmation the RWNJs have turned the Unherd into yet another echo chamber to amplify their half truths, misrepresentations and outright mendacity.