How did it come to pass that of the two political parties, the Democrats — who have long fought for the underdog, civil rights, consumer protections, universal health care, the minimum wage and for unions against powerful interests that try to crush them — have now been branded in large swaths of the country as the party of the establishment and the elites?
“What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Donald Trump?”
That’s the open-ended question a Quinnipiac poll asked Americans in May. The No. 1 answer: “idiot.”
Have you seen anything since then that would move the needle away from “idiot”? Or from “ignorant” (the ninth most frequent answer), or “stupid” (12th )?
Hark back to the original populists of the 1890s and they saw themselves exactly the same way, as champions of common Americans left behind by distant, powerful interests that were driving — and profiting from — economic dislocation and change.
These populists channeled the fears and frustrations of Southern and Midwestern farmers who were straining to keep up in an increasingly industrialized and national economy — and growing more and more resentful toward an emerging modern culture that no longer venerated the yeomen and instead celebrated the captains of industry.
On Monday June 19, in the case of Matal v. Tam, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled yet again that the First Amendment trumps political correctness.
This time, though, the circumstances were a bit unusual. Simon Tam, an Asian-American musician, founded the first all-Asian-American dance-rock band. The band chose to call itself the “Slants” as a way of thumbing its nose at anti-Asian stereotypes and prejudices—such as slant eyes.
If the human brain’s positive bias toward attractive people didn’t cue me to infer that Thune is a great guy, a real straight shooter, I’d be as outraged by the assault on Americans’ health that Thune and his co-conspirators are currently waging, and by the subversion of American democracy they’re using to ram it through, as I am when its public face is McConnell’s.