Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Populist Turn in American Politics

When a pro-rich, himself rich, guy starts talking about the gulf between rich and poor, you know things are changing in American politics. A second term president in his last two years and wide open Republican primary is a fertile ground in any case for such tectonic shifts. No wonder President Obama fully exploited this moment to play out his party's differences in this regard with his political opponents. 

However, what I find most astonishing is the ease with which Mitt Romeny blamed President Obama for all this rich-poor gap when exactly it has been Romney's party which has defended capital owners at all costs while Mitt Romney deciding to be the candidate of top 1%. May be it is no surprise there and that is how politics always work: keep opposing your opponent on ideological basis and when a problem is detected in your policy prescriptions blame your opponent even if it is your ideology which causes the problem.

The question is will American Public see through the hollowness of sudden populist turn of Republicans. Will Public make it harder to Republicans to  claim populism while trying to protect their true benefactor class - rich folks? There is no problem of a Republican who adopts populism and truly believes that with a credibility to deliver - that rich will have to pay more to address inequality in today's America. But are there any such Republicans who are ready to insist for "shared sacrifices" from rich? 

Politics of next few years in America will be determined by whether Republicans succeed in "selling to America that it is all fault of Obama and Liberals for all this inequality" (and hence we need to give more tax cuts to rich, oops...job creators in the dictionary of Republican Party). Generally Republican politics has had more success in selling all sorts of "snake oil" to Americans (Bush's Iraq War) than Democrats being able to point out contradictions in Republican Policy prescriptions.

2015 State of Union Address by President Obama was an attempt to help Democrats in this contest

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