I see that Ron Fournier is echoing a point I made in the wake of Eric Cantor’s primary defeat:
Americans see a grim future for themselves, their children, and their country. They believe their political leaders are selfish, greedy, and short-sighted—unable and/or unwilling to shield most people from wrenching economic and social change. For many, the Republican Party is becoming too extreme, while the Democratic Party—specifically, President Obama—raised and dashed their hopes for true reform.
Worse of all, the typical American doesn’t know how to channel his or her anger. Heaven help Washington if they do.
Which side of the barricade are you on? Populists from the right and the left—from the tea party and libertarian-leaning Rand Paul to economic populist Elizabeth Warren—are positioning themselves among the insurgents. Sosnik pointed to six areas of consensus that eventually may unite the divergent populist forces:
- A pullback from the rest of the world, with more of an inward focus.
- A desire to go after big banks and other large financial institutions.
- Elimination of corporate welfare.
- Reducing special deals for the rich.
- Pushing back on the violation of the public’s privacy by the government and big business.
- Reducing the size of government.
I could point out right populist websites without difficulty; I’m not sure I could point out a left populist website if you held a gun to my head. Naked Capitalism? Are left populists really interested in reducing the size of government? Or are they interest in expanding benefits in ways that would require a substantially larger federal government? That’s not a rhetorical question. I’d like to know the answer.
I’m not particularly interested in Eric Cantor any more than I’m interested in the Congressional caucus of any state other than my own. I figure that the other states can elect any tomfool representatives that suit them. Cantor’s position as House Majority Leader gives his defeat a more national character.
Cantor’s defeat might be just a defeat of Cantor and nothing more. It could be a repudiation of amnesty of illegal immigrants by the voters of his district. It might mean all sorts of things, few of them particularly interesting.
But if his defeat portends an anti-incumbent wave in November that could be very interesting, indeed.