Populism 201: Advanced Topics in American Democracy

As we approach the 2020 election, President Trump is trailing in the polls, making it seem likely that he will be a one-term President. However, if 2016 is any indicator, the pundits and pollsters may be in for another surprise on November 4. How did the 2016 election catch so many pundits off guard? Whatever was once stable and assured prior to 2016 has been permanently disrupted since the emergence of Donald Trump’s unique brand of populist politics. Were the last four years of a presidency that claims to be populist a temporary anomaly, or do they represent a permanent change in American politics? Or, could both be true?

Bradford R. Kane is an attorney, Washington D.C. insider, and author of Pitchfork Populism: 10 Poliitcal Forces that Shaped an Election and Continue to Change America. A combination of American history, current events, and political science, the book gives us insight into how one person – Donald Trump – managed to turn the political system upside down, and change the way the game is played.

To take just one example, from Chapter 8 of Kane’s book, how is it that progressives have suddenly discovered the virtues of federalism, and even of “state’s rights,” while many conservatives and libertarians have a newfound appreciation for executive authority?

If you want to understand democracy in America, it’s no longer enough to have read de Toqueville. Read the book or catch this Sunday’s show to understand how changing demographics, fragmentation of media, and debates over trade and globalization will play out in 2020 and beyond.

Kane and I get into some prognostication about what will transpire on November 3rd, November 4th and the days leading up to the inauguration.

Benjamin Franklin once said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."