In my view, this piece misinterprets the history and meaning of the "GOP's populist transformation," which it takes as a given./1…
First, a reminder that under Trump, the GOP's central polices were 1) a huge tax cut for the wealthy and corporations; 2) a near-successful effort to take away health care from millions of working Americans; 3) corporate deregulation..../2
And 4) the appointment of anti-labor judges (i.e.,Neil Gorsuch's "frozen trucker" opinion), the countenance of "wage theft," and probably the most anti-worker Secretary of Labor (Eugene Scalia) ever to hold that office. /3
Now, it is true that Trump and the GOP combined these pro-corporate, anti-worker policies with lots of performative rhetoric railing against "elites," but the bottom line is that they cut taxes of those "elites" and made it easier for those elites to maneuver./4
I disagree with all three clauses in this critical sentence: "Republicans’ populist turn, breaking with the party’s laissez-faire past, has its roots in the last administration."/5
In terms of actions, I see very little evidence of a GOP "populist turn." I'm not sure what "laissez-faire past" David J. Lynch is referring to--but to take Reagan as an example, he pumped tons of federal spending into favored industries, like defense. /6
As for the last clause of the sentence: the faux populism is far from new. Conservative politicians have long defended corporate power while speaking in the name of the corner grocer and ordinary Americans./7
As I write in my book, FREE ENTERPRISE, of the 1920s/30s: "The populist celebration of ordinary Americans was increasingly applied to the business firm, which replaced replaced the ordinary farmer or worker as the carrier of virtuous producerist values" (p. 65)./8
Tracing the language of opposition to the New Deal shows that populist posturing can coincide with conservative economic policies; indeed, as I show, the language of aggrievement and victimization has long been central to free enterprise discourse./9
Getting to the heart of the matter, Lynch notes that corporate leaders speaking out on "racism, climate change and voting rights [he also mentions opposition trans-gender athletes and support for vaccines] has left Republican politicians itching for a fight." /10
One might ask: why are GOP politicians "itching for a fight" on the issues of racism, climate change, and voting rights? What we have is not populism in any meaningful economic or political sense but an attempt to leverage white identity politics and culture wars. /11

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More from @LarryGlickman

8 Jun
Ross Douthat makes a lot of questionable/misleading claims in this piece, which aims, but fails, to reassure us that we are not destined for a democratic crisis. I'll go through seven of them. /1…
1.“For all his postelection madness, [Trump] never came close to getting...institutional support.” I don't know 126 House GOP, 19 State AG's, 12 Senators seems like a lot of institutional support for overturning an election./2
And that is to say nothing of the RNC, which two days _after_ the insurrection continued to "sing praises of Trump," or of state GOPs, which continue to support him and invite him to keynote, as NC just did./3…
Read 13 tweets
4 Jun
I'm so glad that the Times is finally putting the infrastructure talks in the context of the GOP bait-and-switch of 2009, but the claim that "few could fault the so-called Gang of Six," gives that group way too much credit.…
According to Grassley, when the president asked him if he'd be willing to sign on the bill, he said, "two or three Republicans does not make a bipartisan bill.” Rather than analyzing this remarkable statement, Jonathan Weissman just leaves it there.
Moreover, quoting Snowe and Grassley claiming that the fact that they "met 31 times over the course of those months" is proof of their seriousness does not allow for the possibility that they knew that delay would harm the chance of the bill's passage, as it, in fact, did.
Read 8 tweets
2 Jun
A few thoughts on McConnell's comments and some other criticism I have seen recently about the 1619 Project and other recent works that seek to reckon with slavery and white supremacy. /1
I’m not sure why he frames this interpretation as “trying to completely denigrate and downgrade” U.S. history. It reminds me of the view expressed here that “the prevailing academic view of America” is “irredeemably racist, sexist, and unjust.” /2
Historical interpretations--including the 1619 Project--can and should be debated. But seeking to reframe--or synthesize a lot of scholarship that reframes--U.S. history as being fundamentally shaped by slavery and white supremacy is not an act of "denigration."/3
Read 12 tweets
30 May
From start to finish, this article is written from the perspective of the GOP. This is not only unfair, it also takes as a given that the GOP is negotiating in good faith, something recent history suggests is not warranted./1…
Let’s start with the sub-hed, which suggests that going big on infrastructure is somehow in conflict with helping the middle class, a POV offered by a Republican Senator in piece. /1
Then, the lede claims that the unserious figure proposed by Republicans, which would make significant infrastructure investment impossible, is the “workable” one. /3 (misnumbered previous tweet; sorry).
Read 7 tweets
26 May
This article claims that Trump "has begun crafting a policy agenda outlining a MAGA doctrine for the party," but, remarkably, beyond the vaguest generalities, it says next-to-nothing about what that policy agenda will contain. /1
In 1952, Dwight Eisenhower said, "our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don't care what it is." And that's pretty much the degree of policy specificity contained herein./2
With considerable understatement, it says that "detailed policy planks have never been the most notable feature of Trump’s political appeal" but nonetheless tells us that "its construction has been teased and talked about for weeks." Ok, then, what do we have so far? /3
Read 12 tweets
24 May
The story is not "partisan gridlock" but Republican negation. The GOP unanimously voted against Covid Relief, as they did against the Obama Stimulus, as they did against Obamacare. And McConnell says 100% of his focus is on stopping Dem legislation.…
Why is it that this obvious context and framing is missing from so much of the analysis of these negotiations? Why is the McConnell quote not prominently mentioned, along with the GOP track record? /2
Is the essence of the story really that the two parties are "sparring over the size of the infrastructure bill"? It can only be framed that way by disregarding recent history and the explicit statements of the GOP Senate leader.…
Read 5 tweets

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