Excerpts from “Let Them Eat Tweets”, by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson.

This will be a very long post, but I am sharing it because it provides a clear analysis of how we got to Trump, and reminds us of what is at stake. It is very easy to get overwhelmed by the daily news. Trump buries us under a mountain of outrageous tweets and, more insidiously, introduces policies whispered in his ear by big money interests. None of those are good for “ordinary” people like me, or the environment. Here is the text:

“ As the GOP embraced plutocratic priorities, it pioneered a set of electoral appeals that were increasingly strident, alarmist, and racially charged. Encouraging white backlash and anti-government extremism, the party outsourced voter mobilization to a set of aggressive and narrow groups: the National Rifle Association, the organized Christian right, the burgeoning industry of right-wing media. When and where that proved insufficient, it adopted a ruthless focus on altering electoral rules, maximizing the sway of its base and minimizing the influence of the rest of the electorate through a variety of anti-democratic tactics, from voter disenfranchisement to extreme partisan gerrymandering to laws and practices opening the floodgates to big money. And more and more, it coupled this vote rigging with even more extreme strategies to undermine the checks and balances in our system, weakening democratic accountability and strengthening the ability of powerful minorities to dictate policy. In short, Republicans used white identity to defend wealth inequality. They undermined democracy to uphold plutocracy.


So peculiar is America’s version of right-wing populism that it deserves a label of its own. […] we use the term ‘plutocratic populism’ to describe the party’s bitter brew of reactionary economic priorities and right-wing cultural and racial appeals. This distinctive American hybrid emerged after 1980 as the Republican Party struggled to manage the tensions between its governing priorities and its electoral strategies, between its defense of plutocracy in the face of rising inequality and its reliance on less affluent white voters in the face of growing diversity. To deliver for the plutocrats yet still win elections, Republicans reached ever deeper into parts of the nation and segments of the electorate where conservative economic policies failed to stir voters’ passions but divisive appeals to identity did. The choices and alliances they made- and the opportunities to take a less destructive course they rejected – radicalized a party, divided a nation, and empowered a demagogue. They now imperil our democracy.”


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