A Populist Battle in the 2020 Election

Jack Parkos | @Laissez_Faire76

As of now, there are 18 Democrats running for the primaries in the 2020 election. Furthermore, Bill Weld has announced that he will challenge Trump in 2020. Although it’s early, it appears that the big candidates for the election are Donald Trump for the Republicans and Bernie Sanders for the Democrats. Both Trump and Sanders have been labeled as “radical” and “anti-establishment” by many in the “establishment”.  The establishment, which, is dying. The old politics of neoliberalism and neoconservatism are being replaced by a new generation. This generation is embracing a new ideology-populism. This is happening on both the left and right sides of the political spectrum.

What is populism?

In general, populism is defined as a movement that puts “the people” first and has an enemy in the “elites.” Populism is an umbrella ideology, meaning many other ideologies and ideas fit under it. Many fascist, socialist, and even some liberal movements have been defined as populist. There is no set in stone economic or social policies for populism. However, it will generally be a movement for “the people” rather than “the elites”. A typical populist movement will have a dynamic leader who will use his charisma to rally the “common man” around him.  Because of this, the lower and working class tend to favor populist leaders and ideas. Typically, people often divide populism into two groups, right-wing populism, and left-wing populism.

Left-wing populism

Left-wing populism is an anti-capitalist ideology that takes in many elements of socialist ideas. To the left-wing populist, “the elites” are the rich or upper class. “The people” are the workers. Left-wing populism is often very anti-hierarchy and supports social and economic equality. They will support many social programs that “elevate the people”. Arguably the most famous left-wing populist in America was Governor and Senator Huey Long with his famous motto “Every man a king”. Indeed, Bernie Sanders is a left-wing populist. Many ideas of this ideology overlap with socialist ideas, but not all populists are socialists.

Right-wing populism

I have previously written on Murray Rothbard’s “Right-wing populist” paleo strategy. However, there is a lot more to the ideology than this. Right-wing populists share the same anti-elitism as left-wing populists. However, right-wing populists are strong proponents of nationalism, protectionism, and border control. To them, open borders threaten “the common man”. After all, they bring in cheaper labor. Moreover, right-wing populists tend to hold socially conservative values and are not as anti-capitalism as left-wing populists. Tucker Carlson is a good example of a right-wing populist as he talks often about the “ruling class” and stands up for the working class.

A change in politics

America has already seen the rise of populism. Donald Trump, who holds right-wing populist views, won the election in 2016. Much of his support came from blue-collar workers in the “rustbelt.” They were sick of the establishment and voted for a man who wanted to use protectionism to protect their jobs. Much of Trump’s rhetoric was about protecting American jobs. The old days of George W. Bush-style conservatism are dying.  They are being replaced by Trump-style populism. The right-wing youth in America is showing more support for Trump’s rhetoric than traditional conservatism.

This similarly happened in the Democratic party. The youth showed enthusiastic support for Bernie Sanders. Speculation claimed that Hillary Clinton may have rigged the primaries and stole them from Bernie. But the Democratic party is no longer the party of Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders is on the rise. Bernie’s ideology is clearly populist. His war on the 1% and wall street in favor of redistributing the  “the wealth” is as populist as it gets.

Moreover, popular new candidate Andrew Yang also has many populist beliefs. Yang is concerned about technology outsourcing the jobs of blue-collar Americans. Furthermore, he supports a UBI (Universal Basic Income) program. Yang has stated that he wants a mix of capitalism and socialism.

These are the types of candidates that will be the hot shots of this age in politics.

New Age

Many people on both the left and right are showing anger at the elites running D.C. and the world. The youth are throwing away the politics of the boomers and are embracing populism. Corruption and cronyism are what have caused this massive shift. The 2016 election was a battle of populism vs. the elites. The 2020 election will be a battle between right-wing and left-wing populism. Most likely being between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Nevertheless, it is evident that there has been a change in politics that will continue. Whether or not you like populism is irrelevant to the fact that it is here to stay.


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