EP 312: Chris Stirewalt Gives a Colorful History of American Populism

September 17, 2018

Fox News' politics editor Chris Stirewalt discusses the history of American populism, how economic resentment fuels populism even in times of huge prosperity, and why the will of the people doesn’t always make for great policy.  He discusses why populist leaders are so prone to hucksterism and easy answers including one politician who literally started out as snake oil salesman, and why it’s a good thing that most populist leaders never actually get to govern.  He talks about how the least likely populist President Teddy Roosevelt's progressive Bull Moose Party impacted the GOP for over a century, and how George Wallace shifted the focus from economic populism to cultural populism.  He explains why he calls Pat Buchanan the grandfather of Trumpism and how Ross Perot invented the trope of the businessman who can fix Washington.  Plus we talk about the time America flirted with electing a self-professed socialist and radical, why the election of 1864 still gives Chris hope, and why modern aspiring populists would do well to study Andrew Jackson's appeal to immigrants. 


Order Chris Stirewalt's book Every Man a King: A Short, Colorful History of American Populists on Amazon, subscribe to his podcast Perino and Stirewalt: I’ll Tell You What wherever you like to listen, and follow him on twitter at @Chris Stirewalt.  Today’s episode was sponsored by HeinekenEmma Email MarketingNFL Podcasts, and Espresso Monster.

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