Posts

Showing posts from October, 2020

Don't Call Trump a Populist

Image
I beg you, please stop referring to Trump as a "populist."  1. It's factually untrue.  Trump is an extraordinarily unpopular president.  Not only did he win the presidency after losing the popular vote, but - even more unusually - Trump's approval rating, in his entire presidency, has never been above 50%.  There have been presidents whose approval ratings have gone up and down, but this is relatively unprecedented .  Usually even unpopular presidents have some kind of honeymoon period, however brief and slight.  His is the first presidency that has never broken 50% in Gallup polling , and has the lowest average approval rating of any president in history . 2. The word "populism" has a meaning.  Populism has a history.  People like Jim Hightower and Molly Ivins are (or were) populists.  Donald Trump simply has absolutely nothing to do with the tradition of Eugene Debs, Terence Powderly, James Weaver, and William Jennings Bryan, let alone people like Ernesto

What is Trump?

Image
  Some presidencies are obviously historic; others are quickly forgotten.  George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Gerald Ford will be names of which our great-grandchildren's generation will likely have to be reminded, just as we have difficulty remembering what exactly happened during Warren G. Harding's administration (or even exactly when it was).  But I think we will be talking about Donald Trump for a long, long time.  Granted, most likely he will be a historical curiosity and a bit of joke.  Bring up his name to someone in the far flung future, and they will likely reply, "Oh yeah - I know him!  He was the leader of a political faction who aggressively believed in not wearing masks during an epidemic, and then he wound up catching the disease himself!"  And everyone will laugh. Of course there's more to his presidency than that humiliating embarrassment.  Already during his presidency, and even before it, there has been a wave of think-pieces about who Trump is

The Problem of the Guy Named Bill

    Martha: [holding gun to forehead, sobbing] I can't go on!  My life is meaningless!  I'm going to end it all! Dick: Don't worry! All your problems are solved! Martha: [straightening up, sniffling] W-What do you mean?   Dick: There's an answer to all of your problems. Martha: What is it?  Tell me! Dick: Oh, I don't know. Martha: [putting gun back against forehead] I knew it!  There's no hope! Dick: Well, I don't know the answers, but I know who does. Martha: Who? Dick: A guy named Bill. Martha: You mean Bill from accounting? Dick: No, a different Bill. Martha: Bill the janitor? Dick: No, you don't know him. Martha: Can you introduce me to him? Dick: I don't know him either. Martha: Well, what's his last name? Dick: I don't know. Martha: You just made Bill up. Dick: No, he's real! Martha: So where is he? Dick: On vacation.  Look: this is a pair of shoelaces that once belonged to Bill.  That proves it! Martha: So how is this supposed to h