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Saturday, January 30, 2016

America's Populist Revolution

America appears to be undergoing a major political realignment, if not a revolution "within the form."  Both political parties are in revolt. This is not normal competition.  The candidates representing change advocate significant departures in the way we do business.

First the Republicans.  Trump is here to stay.  He dwarfs the other candidates.  In no way does he represent traditional conservative positions.  But his core message resonates:  Americans have been getting a bad deal, and our immigration, trade, and foreign policies have all contributed to it.  It is amazing he is competitive with evangelicals, who clearly overlook who he is and what he has represented all his life.  See this column by Buchanan, who describes this as a civil war in the GOP, which probably won't be resolved by the election:  Civil War on the Right

Now the Democrats.  Bernie Sanders represents a total rejection of Clintonism.  The Democrats twenty-plus years of accommodation with Big Capitalism has to go.   Obama distanced himself from socialism, but Bernie embraces it and is doing well.  He takes aim at the health care system--which is still a mess despite or maybe because of Obamacare--and Wall Street, which seems to get richer every time there's an economic downturn.  His young supporters feel the effects of inequality.

What is remarkable to me is that many of Bernie's positions and language are shared by the Populist Right:  he refers to the "Banksters," for example.  Bernie is like the Occupy Wall Street movement taking on mass action.  This column by Peggy Noonan on a Sanders' rally is perceptive: Socialism's Second Life

The leadership of both parties wanted Jeb Bush and Clinton.  Now Bush is politically moribund and Clinton looks shaky.   All the energy is with Trump or anti-establishment GOP contenders, and with Bernie.

It is hard for me to believe the parties will nominate either Trump or Sanders.  We may have a three, or even four-way, political race in November, as one or two candidates decide on independent runs.
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