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Populism...Us vs. Them

by Ron Holdraker
December 2, 2023

Definition: Populism is a style of politics used to mobilize mass movements against ruling powers. Populists claim to speak for ordinary people, taking an "us versus them" stance. Its leaders have used rhetoric that stirs up anger, floated conspiracy theories, pushed the distrust of experts, promoted nationalism and demonized outsiders.

Usually described as a far right stance, populism is currently spreading like wildfire. South America has seen several nations pull to the right as well as European nations. Even long-term allies are seeing populists movements take charge.

Okay, so if populism is supposedly against the ruling party, what do populists do when they achieve their goal? They become the rulers?

In most cases they begin to realize that populism and the far right is plagued with pitfalls and rhetoric and soon to develop is a new form of populism/anti-populism. It make take several years and perhaps longer in South American countries. Extreme poverty, national debt and corrupt government agencies all contribute to far right dictatorships.

Example...When Trump won the White House in 2016, everything was as it should be. Unfortunately everything was not as it should be. Tax rate cuts for corporations was seen as a boost for business expansion and growth in employment.

Yeah, it kind of backfired, or did it? Large corporations used the new found source of money to buy back stock and enrich the already rich. The gap between employer and employees grew even larger.

By 2020 the populists began drifting to the center-left and the ultra-confused middle class sough change and steady growth.

But wait! The  original far right populists, much like the far left 2016 losers,  did not want to give up on the rhetoric-filled lies that led them to power in the first place. Thus, its leaders again used rhetoric that stirs up anger, floated conspiracy theories, pushed the distrust of experts, promoted nationalism and demonized outsiders. It almost never  has the majority of support, but enough to bluff and huff its way to the top.

Each side of the equation has their ups and downs. Abortion, legal and illegal immigration, library books, sex change transitions, medical coverage,  guns, violence, inflation, gas prices became all the rage.

Are you following all this? If not you are the ‘middles’, the block of uncertain(s) that want change, but not too much and not affecting them directly. They believe if gas prices go up, it is the president’s fault, but if they go down the next day everything is okay, but still distrust the powers in place.

Are Hispanics floating to the left, or right...depends on yesterday’s polls. Blacks, right, or left, or perhaps not voting as a block at all is subjective poll spread. Then there are those pesky Evangelists. Who in the almighty hell knows where they stand? Rural White females don’t want politicians deciding what to do with female bodies while the blue collar menfolk thrive on rhetoric lies and ‘burp’ beer. The elite upper, educated class is all but lost and hopefully they simply won’t vote at all.

Bottom line, let’s decide this thing on ages, bad opinions, stumbles and misquotes. Meanwhile, personality attacks, presidential children, first ladies and men are all targets of a sick system now plagued by social media and media giants looking to score...something.

The whole scenarios are enough to keep people from making sane choices, or simply staying home on election days.

The truth floats somewhere in the middle. In the U.S. neither major party has a true grasp on how to cut the deficit and keep the economic giant moving smoothly, nobody does.

It often takes decades to unwind the true goals and failures of a four year term as president, or the level of power in the house and senate.

I personally anticipate the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) in screwing up the entire system even more. It couldn’t be worse.

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