Populism, VIII: The unlikeliest populist by Victor Davis Hanson
On Donald Trump and the mantle of a growing movement.
Leftists deride the “bad” populism of angry and misdirected grievances lodged clumsily against educated and enlightened “elites,” often by the unsophisticated and the undereducated. Bad populism is fueled by ethnic, religious, or racial chauvinism, and typified by a purportedly “dark” tradition from Huey Long and Father Coughlin to George Wallace and Ross Perot.
Such retrograde populism to the liberal mind is to be contrasted with a “good” progressive populism of early-twentieth-century and liberal Minnesota or Wisconsin—solidarity through unions, redistributionist taxes, cooperatives, granges, and credit unions to protect against banks and corporations—now kept alive by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Good leftwing populism rails against supposedly culpable elites—those of the corporate world and moneyed interests—but not well-heeled intellectuals, liberal politicians, and the philanthropic class of George Soros, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett, who make amends for their financial situations by redistributing their millions to the right causes.