In the United States, populism may be the most important political movement of our time. However, in recent months, I have discussed the term populism, though many people have no idea about the American history of populism over the last 200 years.
The typical definition of populism includes “a range of political stances that focuses on the welfare of the people rather than ‘the elite.’” It is frequently associated with anti-establishment and anti-political sentiment.
Growing up in Louisiana, our local history books discuss populism as the political movement that allowed poor children to go to school, have shoes on their feet, get free medical care decades before Obama, and have a free school meal if they could not afford it.
The reason for the populist movement in the 1920s and 1930s was that Louisiana is about as oil rich as Kuwait, but big government and corporations outside of Louisiana were sucking the vast majority of the profits out of the state with federal taxes and profits paid to people and governments outside of the super-oil-rich state of Louisiana.
Populism is what propelled Senator Huey Long onto the national scene of politics. Long’s brand of (Conservative-Populist-Democracy) caught the attention of Roosevelt and many others. Long wanted to make all Americans prosperous or “Every Man a King.”
Sadly, Governor Long was murdered in 1935 before his brand of politics could be proven as a nationalist “people first” movement. Many, to this day, credit Huey Long’s Populism with inspiring President Franklin Roosevelt to strengthen the New Deal policies to help working families.
Populism in the United States reaches back to the Presidency of Andrew Jackson in the 1830s and to the People's Party in the 1890s. The Populists were an agrarian-based political movement aimed at improving conditions for the state’s working farmers and agrarian workers.
Andrew Jackson in a sense was our nation’s first “mixed race” president with a Scotch/Irish background, which was frowned upon by the leaders and elitists of the Northeast.
The Northern elites hated Andrew Jackson and populism over 200 years ago, and the same holds true today. Here are actual quotes from the Northern elite about the Populist President Andrew Jackson. Keep in mind, the same exact things have been said about or done to Donald and Melania Trump some 200 years later.
- "He is one of the most unfit men I know for the" Presidency. "A Dangerous Man" ~ President Thomas Jefferson on Gen. Andrew Jackson's Presidency
- "All enlightened classes are opposed to General Jackson" ~ Alex de Tocqeville on President Jackson
- "John Quincy Adams refused to attend the inauguration of Old Hickory Andrew Jackson." as he was the first mixed ethnic president (The first Scotch-Irish Leader of the USA)
- "The press savaged his reputation and persistently questioned the honor of his wife ~ The press attacked Andrew Jackson 1824 and accusing his wife of being a whore.
- It should not be a question of whether he is to be the next president, but whether he ought not to be hanged." London Times on Andrew Jackson 1824 –
- The Elites even used racist propaganda and accused Jackson of being the son of an English prostitute and an African.
With Jackson’s historic and overwhelming military victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans in 1814, Jackson was a national hero. Jackson was defeated in a Contingent Election as president in his first run by the elitists who rigged a Congressional vote to give it to John Quincy Adams.
However, Jackson’s second run was so strong that they could not stop Jackson from being elected as Jackson crushed Clay in an electoral landslide win (219-49) in 1832.
As a note, former President Donald J. Trump is the most harshly attacked Scottish president since Ronald Reagan. President Trump's mother was a poor Scottish Immigrant, with English her second language. Trump's wife is an immigrant who speaks more than five languages. Trump, like Jackson, is the first nationalist populist president to win a national election in generations.
History books and websites claim that Trump, Ross Perot, Bernie Sanders (a self-proclaimed Democratic-Socialist), and many others are populists. The interesting thing about Trump that people forget is that he was a leader of the Reform Party before taking over the Republican Party in 2016. The Republican party has now morphed into more of an “America First Populist Party” partially due to the competitive nature of the 195 other nations in the world.
These days, Trump and Populists are focused on rather straightforward policies of “law and order” that are seen as controversial today to liberals. In case you missed it, the people of 30 states elected Trump as President in 2016 for his specific policies that he advocated in hundreds of speeches over the last 10 years such as: good jobs, safe and good schools, safe streets, safe workplaces, diplomacy as opposed to war, fair trade, fair immigration, rebuilding America infrastructure, government financial sustainability, fair taxes, fair working conditions, business friendly USA laws to attract global business and fair treatment of vets.
It goes on: affordable women's health care, affordable family health care, in-state tuition for all citizens, child care & education expense benefits for worker productivity, fair corporate tax-rates so wages of employees can be better, civil rights for all citizens and victim’s rights against criminals.
Wait, there's more: elder care rights, justice for all citizens, sustainable government, protecting farmers and the environment, peace in Arabia, modernize NATO, NAFTA, and Fix TPP, new laws to modernize immigration from the other 54 nations in the American hemisphere (and all other countries), fix the broken Asylum and Refugee rules, and—the most important—“energy independence” which creates peace through strength.
In sum, anyone who says that the new conservatives, new populists, or new Republicans don’t have a uniform set of ideas of policies hasn’t listened to a single speech by Donald Trump, his campaign team, or his cabinet members over the last five years. While the Democrat party was the party of slavery, segregation and Jim Crow, it was able to evolve in recent years to become the party of the liberal progressives.
Historically, the GOP Republican party was founded as a mixture of the following groups including: the Working Men’s Party, the Progressive party, the Anti-Slavery Party, and the Party of Abraham Lincoln.
However, while nobody was looking in the last 20 years, the working class has taken over the Republican party, and now the Republicans are the party of Workers, Peace, No-War, American-First, and Prosperity with a laissez faire underpinning and a libertarian flair.
One thing is for sure, Dr. Victor Davis Hanson is right in his recent publications about Populism saying both elite Democrats and elite Republicans are pushing back hard on this organic evolution of the Conservative Populist Republicans. It seems that the new Republicans want more tax-free benefits for those who work, while the liberal opposition wants more tax-free benefits for those who do not work. The chief problem is that the buying power of those on public assistance who receive “tax free housing, food, and health care” is getting greater than many of those who actually work for a living and pay taxes.
With many of the Democrat leaders in their 80s retiring and several top Republicans approaching 80 years old, the policies and platforms of both parties seem to be changing quickly with the Republicans looking more like Populists and Conservative Democrats, while the Democrats are looking more akin to socialists or Bolsheviks. Only time will tell, and new leaders will probably emerge, and we will find out if Populism is here to stay.
George Mentz JD MBA CILS is an international lawyer, speaker, educator, tax-economist, and CEO of the GAFM Global Academy of Finance & Management ®. The GAFM is a ESQ accredited graduate body that trains and certifies professionals in 150+ nations under CHEA ACBSP and ISO 21001 standards. Mentz is also an award winning author and graduate law professor of wealth management for a top US law school in the USA. Mentz has volunteered for several Presidents, served as a US Commissioner for Presidential Scholars, and presently serves on several governmental commissions as part of his volunteerism.
Mentz is 1st in the world to be credentialed as a: Doctor of Jurisprudence, MBA, investment advisor, financial planner, US federal courts attorney, international law certification, & management consultant, and he is a two-time award winning professor teaching 300+ law, business, and ethics courses. Mentz was an economic advisor for a presidential campaign, has published 40+ books and audio books who has written for the US Dept of Labor, O-Books UK, eFinancialCareers, & National Underwriter.
Mentz has served boards or advised The Global Finance Forum, World eCommerce Forum, top banks such as HSBC and Bank of China, UN, Arab Academy of Banking, African Economists Association & has even been accepted as an expert in securities arbitration & mediation. Mentz and his companies have been featured or quoted in Forbes, Reuters, Wall St. Journal, The Hindu National, El Norte Latin America, the Financial Times, NYSSA, The China Daily, & The Arab Times. Mentz enjoys tennis, travel, raising 3 children, and serving as the titular Seigneur of the Fief Blondel which is one of the oldest legally recognized fiefdoms in the UK Crown Dependencies.
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