How Can Populists Retain the Populace?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Tea Party demonstrators gather outside of the Iowa capitol building in Des Moines (jerrysEYES/flickr)

Despite existing on the extreme right and left of U.S. politics respectively, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements both claim that the American dream has gone away, and that hard work alone will no longer allow common people to be masters of their own destinies. However, the means for either group to successfully defy the U.S.'s two-party system and impact change remains ill-defined. And, according to a new Pew poll, support for Tea Party policies are down by 10 percent in their former strongholds, as compared to a year ago.

Anna Sale, political reporter for WNYC and its political website, It's a Free Country, and James Morone, political science professor at Brown University, speak more about what what Tea Partiers and Occupiers can learn from nearly 200 years of populist organizations in America.

Comments [3]

Politicians should, indeed, fear populist movements if the latter are to succeed. However, they should fear for their political future, not their lives. While OWS has, yes, made a bit of a mess in certain venues, and created complaints based on noise, they have not, as yet, shown up at political rallies with weapons literally falling out of articles of clothing, as we saw in the run-up to the passage of health reform. Politicians should fear the threat of voters bouncing them from office...what they should never fear for their personal safety.

Dec. 02 2011 12:36 PM

Speaking of grassroots and movements, sanitation workers in hazmat suits are cleaning up the human waste from Occupy LA which will include the total replacement of the grass lawn and the tax payers will foot the bill for all of it. "Save the Planet" and "we are the 99 percent" sort of rings hollow with this under reported news, doesn't it?

Dec. 01 2011 11:39 AM

"Despite existing on the extreme right and left of U.S. politics respectively, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements...."

If the Tea Party is extreme right than isn't every elected federal official of all parties as well since they all swear an oath the US Constitution.
The Tea Party doesn't swear an oath to the Constitution like politicians do but it does urge that they follow its guidelines in good faith like they promised.
The Occupy movement is based on vulgar Marxist principles of one stripe or another.. provided they have any ethos at all.
One is responsible and law abiding and the other behaves like a lawless rabble.

After three years of withering defamation, is the media trying to give credence to the Tea Party to salvage the execrable mess that OWS has become?

So the Occupy movement is urged to produce "fear" and "make lots of noise"? Less than a year ago we were lectured about "civility" in politics but apparently that cynical tactic based on a mendacious lie is no longer useful to progressives. They seem to have moved on to the next political canard.

Dec. 01 2011 10:14 AM

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