Right-Wing Vs. Left-Wing Populism

Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast: “Right-populism has two targets: the elites and the scapegoats. In right-populism, the elites kind of include big banks and corporations….The scapegoats, of course, are the black and brown people who are taking the white people’s jobs, mooching off their hard-earned tax dollars and so on, and who are protected and coddled by the white liberals. So there’s a class element and a culture element…

“In left-populism, there is just one target: the elites. They are the ones Sanders identified, the people above—Wall Street, the big banks, the piggy billionaires. There are no scapegoats below. This speaks well of left-populism. It doesn’t traffic in race-baiting. In fact, it does much the opposite—it demands of white working-class people that they see what they have in common with their brown and black brothers and sisters and think and act in solidarity with them. That is noble. But it is impossible. A critical mass of working-class white people will just never do that.”

Tomasky also points out that left-wing populists propose higher taxes, but that most people would end up with more take-home pay because they would pay less for health insurance, higher education, would have a more secure retirement and overall costs would be controlled. But, he acknowledges, that’s a hard sell to most Americans.

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