One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of ordinary conservative voters (such as the people on this board) are hostile to notions such as “populism” and “democracy” without having a very strong notion of what they’re attacking. In this post, I want to quickly point out that if we go by what the average party operative means by these words, ordinary conservatives are actually democratic populists (and that’s good).
This latest “autopsy” from the GOP is actually somewhat interesting if you read between the lines. What they’re saying is: the problem is you guys (on this forum). The primary process is too populist and democratic for them. What they mean by these words is this: a political institution is more “democratic” to the extent that ordinary conservatives, rather than party elites, influence the election of candidates. Likewise, it’s more “populist” to the extent that ordinary conservatives, rather than party elites, set the policy agenda. From what I’ve seen over the years, most of you seem to believe that the party isn’t nearly “democratic” or “populist” enough, but the current suggestion in elite GOP circles is that it needs to become less so.
The point: next time you hear party elites or talking heads attack “democracy” or “populism,” watch your wallet.