Hello everyone. Recently I became a contributing writer for Politically Speaking, a publication at Medium.com. I wanted to share my first post with you and will do so in the future as well. I apologize in advance for using the former guy’s name-as well as writing anything about him. My pledge is to minimize the crazy man as much as possible. But this post really goes to the overall concept of populism, and how it can be used in a good way-and a despicable and dangerous way as well. Anyway, here is an excerpt. I’d greatly appreciate it if you click the link at the end and finish reading over at Medium. Thank you everybody!
Imagine a scenario where an ex-president broke away from his political party to form a new and exciting one based on reforming democracy as we know it. Things like standing up to corporations, providing health care to all Americans, guaranteed employment, and protecting senior citizens with a form of social insurance to guard against poverty.
Now imagine another scenario. However, this involves an ex-president who also breaks away from his party, but his platform is nowhere near the same as the first example. No, this particular platform consists of re-establishing white supremacy, strict anti-immigration policies, reduced taxes for the rich, massive deregulation of corporations, and a move to circumvent a free press’s rights.
The first scenario happened in 1912, with the ex-president being none other than Theodore Roosevelt. Disillusioned with fellow Republican and successor William Howard Taft, Roosevelt gave rise to the new Progressive Party, challenging Taft in that year’s election and winning 9 of the 12 primary contests against him. The GOP, however, ended up nominating Taft anyway, angering Roosevelt, which provided the impetus for running as the nominee for his new third-party.
While Roosevelt ultimately fell short in his bid for a third term as president, he garnered significant support throughout the country — winning 27 percent of the popular vote and 88 electoral votes in the process. However, his entry into the race allowed Woodrow Wilson to pull off a victory for the Democrats, as Taft only won two states.
Undoubtedly, Roosevelt’s populist message resonated with much of America and, indeed, compelled Democrats to nominate Wilson, their own progressive candidate. Had they not done that, historians say that Roosevelt most likely would have won the 1912 presidential election.
The second scenario mentioned above is strictly hypothetical, for it pertains to the disgraced 45th ex-president Donald J. Trump. There’s been talk that Trump may form his own party, and the policies in this example merely reflect those that he pursued as president and would most likely pursue as the leader of a new Trump Party, or whatever it might be called. Again, we may never know because none of us can ever know what resides in Trump’s demented mind.
But what if Trump formed a new party along the lines of what Teddy Roosevelt helped create in 1912? What if he used his huge personality and influence to do positive things for the American people? You never know; he might be able to pull something like that off.
When you think about Roosevelt and Trump, it’s unlikely you’d find much commonality. However, there is one thing: both had enormous personalities and an aggressive and assertive approach to politics.
Indeed, part of Roosevelt’s pledge to reform democracy rested upon the idea of an extremely powerful presidency that would rely on communicating directly to voters through, at what was at that time, an emerging mass media with independent newspapers, popular magazines, audio recordings, and movies. Sort of the modern-day version of social media when you think about it.
Taft, for his part, warned of Roosevelt’s ‘progressive democracy’ amounting “to nothing but the establishment of a benevolent despotism.” There was a definite fear amongst the political elites that Roosevelt’s intentions were nothing more than a selfish power grab over our democratic institutions.
Sounds a bit familiar. After all, what we witnessed on January 6, 2021, was a violent and physical attempt to overthrow the American people’s will in a legitimate and legal election. It was a power grab of gargantuan audacity, something even Teddy Roosevelt would have certainly frowned upon.
To continue reading, please head over to Politically Speaking at Medium