What Is The Difference Between Populism And Democracy? UPDATED

angry mob fun run

Matthew Continetti gives us one version of history:

Trump’s strongest supporters are drawn from the network of institutions, spokesmen, and causes established by the New Right some 40 years ago. The single-issue groups fighting for gun rights, the right to life, and right to work are behind him. So is the American Conservative Union. Opinion at the Heritage Foundation is divided, leaving the conservative powerhouse rather muted during 2016. Other institutions have picked up the slack. Trump is promoted by cable news, talk radio, bloggers, the Drudge Report, Breitbart, and Infowars.com.

Phyllis Schlafly was one of Trump’s most committed supporters before her death earlier this year. Buchanan cheers on Trump at every opportunity. Jerry Falwell Jr. gave Trump his blessing. “Donald Trump will be helping to advance the conservative movement,” Viguerie said last summer.

Claremont Institute logoTrump deploys New Right symbols and tropes. His antagonism toward the Eastern establishment is obvious. He made a point last year to obtain the endorsement of John Wayne’s daughter. He earned tepid support from Clint Eastwood in an interview with Esquire. He is strongest where Wallace was strongest, among whites without college degrees, in the south, in ethnic blue-collar enclaves such as Staten Island. In Orange County, California, Trump took 77 percent of the Republican primary vote. Just north of Orange County are the Claremont Colleges, where the Trump-friendly Claremont Institute is based.

Immigration, which emerged as a social issue at the turn of the twenty-first century, was key to Trump’s success. So was his role as outsider, independent critic of the rigged system, scold of elites, avatar of reaction. The apocalyptic predictions, the dichotomy between makers and takers, even the idea of seizing Arab territory and “taking the oil” comes straight from Bill Rusher’s 1975 Making of the New Majority Party. The relentless hostility toward the media, both liberal and heterodox conservative, the accusation that it, the government, and the financial sector is engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Hillary Clinton, the denigration of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the appeal to supporters of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, the charge that the “global power structure” has “stripped” manufacturing towns “bare and raided the wealth for themselves”—this is adversarianism in its purest, most conspiratorial, most totalistic form.

Against Trump NRO coverThe attacks on National Review, on George Will, on conservatives with elite educations, on conservatives granted legitimacy by mainstream institutions is a replay of the New Right rhetoric of the 1970s. Names have been added to the list of Republicans in Name Only, of false, cuckolded conservatives, but the battle lines are the same. On the one hand are the effete intellectuals based on the East Coast, shuttling up and down the Acela corridor, removed from the suffering of the average American, ignorant of the social issues, amenable to social engineering, fat and happy on a diet of foundation grants, magazine sinecures, think tank projects, speaking engagements. On the other are the blue-collar radio and television hosts with million-dollar contracts, the speechwriter for Wall Street banks who uses a pseudonym to cast aspersions on the feckless conservative elite, the billionaire-supported populist website that attacks renegade Jews, the bloggers and commenters and trolls estranged from power, from influence, from notoriety, from relevance, fueled by resentment, lured by the specter of conspiracy, extrapolating terrifying and chiliastic scenarios from negative but solvable trends.

It is the same discourse, the same methods, the same antinomianism, the same reaction to demographic change and liberal overreach that we encountered in the 1970s. The difference is that Donald Trump is so noxious, so unhinged, so extremist in his rejection of democratic norms and political convention and basic manners that he has untethered the New Right politics he embodies from the descendants of William F. Buckley Jr.

The triumph of populism has left conservatism marooned, confused, uncertain, depressed, anxious, searching for a tradition, for a program, for viability. We might have to return to the beginning to understand where we have ended up. We might have to reject adversarianism, to accept the welfare state as an objective fact, to rehabilitate Burnham’s vision of a conservative-tinged Establishment capable of permeating the managerial society and gradually directing it in a prudential, reflective, virtuous manner respectful of both freedom and tradition. This is the challenge of the moment. This is the crisis of the conservative intellectual. What makes that crisis acute is the knowledge that he and his predecessors may have helped to bring it on themselves.

Democracy is good but populism is bad. Both involve majority rule. So what is the difference?

Near as I can tell, populism is a democratic movement where the elites are not part of the majority. Similarly, nationalism is a bigoted form of patriotism that does not include the globalist intelligentsia.

If 90% of the voters agree on something, but that 10% that don’t agree are the elites, the majority is wrong.



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135 Responses to What Is The Difference Between Populism And Democracy? UPDATED

    • lateblum says:

      Never been to ^this^ Blog, so I thought I’d look… I followed a link to another site because I was intrigued by the reference to it . . . The FCC recently approved foreign takeover of radio stations. This link takes us to a video of the FCC meeting in which the vote takes place. First they came for the internet; then radio stations. What’s next?


      • helenk3 says:

        another backtrack bunch FU to america

        • Mt.Laurel says:

          I was thinking about this the other day when the NYT once again ignored reality – making themselves just look stupid – but playing on the fact the many people like to think they are smarter than the peons because it is assumed the NYT represents those who truly matter. NYT – which should just die – is kept afloat by old Carlo. Therefore, illegal immigrants should have full rights and free perks without paying taxes or contributing to society so Mexico does not have to support them and yet money floes back to Mexico. See – NYT knows best.

          This happened first with print media and pressure has been on to let it expand. But really it already has, does anyone think NBC is worried about the good old USA or about getting their piece of the global pie has expanded.

  1. Dora says:

    Don’t forget to tune in for the Second Gettysburg Address.


    Trump prepares for Gettysburg address unveiling ‘first 100 days’ agenda – and his aides say Hillary is just ‘waiting out the clock’

    Donald Trump will plant a flag on hallowed ground Saturday morning by laying out near the Gettysburg National Battlefield what he would do in his first 100 days as President of the United States.


  2. helenk3 says:


    this is just wrong. these national guard paid any kind of debt the backtrack bunch could throw at them with their blood sweat and tears.
    If they all claimed to be al sharpton’s cousins from Syria would they have to pay the money back?
    don’t think so

    • lateblum says:

      This sucks, and I’m sharing on twitter ……

    • CiscoKid says:

      TRAVESTY! SHAMEFUL! One of the most despicable acts ever done to our veterans, combat veterans, Purple Heart veterans. Multiple combat deployment veterans.
      But the illegal aliens and ghetto mutts still get their freebees!
      Now I understand how it’s possible for 20 veterans a day committing sucide.
      Here’s an idea. How about getting the dumb fucks that made the mistake to repay the Government.
      You know, accept responsibility. Not gonna happen.
      Only one way to get out of this shit show.
      🚂🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸. DJT-2016 MAGA.

  3. Dora says:

    WikiLeaks: Donna Brazile Shreds Obama Economy

    Acting DNC chair says ‘people are more in despair about how things are’


  4. The stuff he describes is reprehensible, but it’s not fair to blame Trump or the vast majority of Trump supporters for the actions of a tiny fraction.

    • DandyTIger says:

      Agree, that stuff is horrible. From what I’ve seen, the alt-right is all about outrageous trolling as a reaction to the crazy PC/triggered safe-space stuff. But they often seem like kids with no impulse control. They seem to have one speed: foot to the floor. Damn kids, get off my lawn.

    • lateblum says:

      Talk to Bob Creamer… The HFA group could be responsible for that just as they were responsible for the “disruptions” in Chicago, AZ, CO, and. Her places. They were also responsible for attacks against and rumors about Bernie. Don’t tell me they wouldn’t also target French and others who ran against Trump. They certainly have the $$.
      This is only my thought, not something I’ve read.

    • Anthony says:

      He gets paid to write that shit??? Lmao! What a wuss. Like all the NeverTrumpers, he just can’t believe he’s not going to have his way. He should try foot-stomping, holding his breath til he turns blue or just leave lame, passive aggressive comments on a pro-Trump blog like the rest of his sorry butthurt ilk.

      • 1539days says:

        Because antisemitism and doxxing is the price you pay for expressing your opinion.

        • Anthony says:

          You believe tbat?!

          • 1539days says:

            I believe sunlight is the best disinfectant. If these assholes attacking this blogger are not what Trump’s support is all about, I can believe that. But calling someone a wuss because he does write about the things that have happened because of his Trump opposition is essentially telling him to keep these attacks hidden.

            Luckily, all I get from leaving “passive aggressive comments on a pro-Trump blog” is cursed at by people on the blog. I think Trump went to war on people who would normally vote Republican and we’ll see in a couple of weeks how well that worked.

          • Anthony says:

            Oh – I see. You’ve taken my comment personally. Rest assured, you were the furthest thing from my mind when I was writing it.

            What I was responding to was David French’s (and apparently yours, too) myopic disconnect regarding cause and effect. French expressed disdain and a willingness to disenfranchise the will of the millions of voters who selected Donald Trump to be the standard bearer of the Republican party. Of course, they’re going to be furious about French’s (and frankly any other NeverTrumper’s) disdain and offensive condescension, but he (and Bill Kristol, Romney, et al) should have expected a backlash.

            I don’t condone distributing anyone’s personal info on the internet, but for people like French to expect the exact group of people they’ve gone out of their way to offend to NOT respond in kind shows an extraordinary lack of common sense and insight.

            As far as your own admittedly intentional passive/aggressive comments, what do you expect? Flowers? Chocolates? An invitation to a weekend in the Hamptons? If you walk into someones home and take a dump in the middle of their living room, you can’t blame them for bitching about the stench you’ve left.

            Perhaps it might behoove you to figure out a way to state your opinion in a way that isn’t so hostile or antagonistic to the majority of posters. Others here are not supporting Trump and have made that very clear. They’ve not been cursed out, and instead have been respected and embraced. To play the victim after being an offensive jerk to an entire group of people is nothing more than disingenuous

  5. If the government actually tried to do something effective the same people would protest that too.

    • DandyTIger says:

      I’m assuming they don’t want military intervention. So what do they want, a stern letter?

      • 49erDweet says:

        Firmly shaking one’s fist in the other’s face for 10 minutes often works wonders.

        • CiscoKid says:

          A letter of reprimand in their permanent record should do the trick.

          • cynic says:

            How about a hash tag? The “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign worked soooooo well.
            There was Michelle, looking all concerned, holding her sign for the cameras.

            I had to look up what the sign said, and found this. Not sure if I heard the media report this:

            Boko Haram has released a video mocking the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, warping the slogan to say “Bring back our army”.

      • Constance says:

        Probably a red line in the sand.

  6. Constance says:

    Wow, what a load of unreadable garbage, I guess that is a conservative virtue signaling diatribe, Mr Continetti must be Ivy Indoctrinated! I think Matthew Continetti is also married to William Kristol’s daughter.

  7. Pingback: What Is The Difference Between Populism And Democracy? – The way I see things …

  8. If nobody is looking for voter fraud then how do we know how much of it is really out there?

  9. Ann says:

    Day 15 of the wikileaks dump.

  10. helenk3 says:

    stolen from Rev Amy’s place

  11. lateblum says:

    I have to get to the farmers market… It’s only open on Saturday mornings. But I keep following links and Twitter, et.al. Here’s another ……

  12. lyn says:

    Oh, no, an MSNBC headline says Trump is attacking the sacred cow, Mooch. It’s the end of times!

  13. 49erDweet says:

    Thank you for ‘splaining all this. Makes it so much more fun to vote against the E-leet-o-rat-tic-can party.

  14. DandyTIger says:

  15. He’s probably blaming his attorney:

    Before he announced the sentence, Sarkisian said Lopez turned down two plea deals. Before his preliminary hearing, if he had admitted his guilt, prosecutors would have recommended 13 years in prison. Lopez rejected the offer.

    Then before his trial, he was offered 22 years in prison if he admitted his guilt. Lopez declined that offer, saying he should be released from jail for the time he already had served, Sarkisian said.

    He was convicted of raping his daughter and sentenced to 1,503 years in prison.

    With good behavior he should be out in 750 years.

    • lateblum says:

      Shirts like this are the reason my brothers and son and various other family members, are pulling for the Cubs to lose, regardless of the “historical” aspect of the Cubs possible WS bid. The anchors on this morning’s news shows were all huffy that bronco hasn’t even mentioned the Cubs or the baseball playoffs. I say he’s only interested if he thinks it’ll benefit him. He has nothing else to run for, so he doesn’t even have to pretend any more.

  16. Venus says:

    Ho Lee Phuc — Trump has the gas & matches out at Gettysburg

    “If they (the establishment) can do this to me (the lies/attacks) who has unlimited resources to fight back, imagine what they can do to you”

  17. Dora says:


  18. taw46 says:

    I think today is the day Denise is going to the Trump rally, yes? Can’t wait for her report.

  19. helenk3 says:


    remember when withholding information or lying to congress was frowned upon? now it seems to be the in thing

  20. helenk3 says:

    for the college football fans


  21. CiscoKid says:

    Watching the Trump rally at Regent University in Virginia Beach.
    The size of the crowd is amazing.
    Who say’s all colleges are lost leftist indoctrination centers.

    • CiscoKid says:

      I watched the rally at Gettysburg also.
      I think I’m a Trumpaholic.🚂🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

      • taw46 says:

        Nothing wrong with that. 😉 I am watching this one. Will go back and watch the Gettysburg one. Tonight is a huge rally in Cleveland with both Pence and Trump.

  22. Me: “What’s the word for when you burp and fart at the same time?”

    Mom: “Disgusting.”

    • After 8 paragraphs about William Jennings Bryan, here is the evidence against Trump:

      Trump has no such view in mind. While he certainly thinks that elites have screwed things up, his main idea is to transfer their authority not to the people but to himself. He thinks the current crop of elites has negotiated “bad deals,” and that he can do better. This is not populism. It is just another version of elitism—albeit one with an outer-borough accent. On what issue has Trump called for a devolution of power? I can think of none. If anything, his goal is to centralize power even further, around himself.

      This is closer to European-style authoritarianism than it is to the American tradition of populism. Trumpism does not so much represent an impulse to elevate the people at the expense of the elites, but to replace them with a single leader who claims to speak for the people.

  23. DandyTIger says:

    Latest Trump accuser on TV live. She’s, wait for it, a porn star, hooker. And as you’d expect, her performance badly reading what happened is seriously bad acting.

  24. foxyladi14 says:

    This won’t work either. 😡

  25. If you binge-watch GOT it’s like one 60-hour-long movie.

  26. Drake said that she met Trump at a golf tournament and that he asked her up to his room. He pressured her to have sex with him and offered her $10,000 and the use of his private jet to have sex with him, which she declined.

    Oh, the humanity!

  27. jennifer lyn says:

    FUCK THESE WOMEN. I am really pissed off. I work with victims and this is HURTING REAL VICTIMS. Remember the parable about crying wolf? MY GOD when will this end and I hope he sues these women into eternity. Rape and sexual harassment, like racism, is real and it is horrible and lies about such things trivialize the real victims’ suffering and make it nearly impossible for justice to be ascertained in those cases. WORSE CASE SCENARIO he asked her if she wanted to mess around and she said no–THIS IS NOT A CRIME PEEPS.

  28. Dora says:

  29. lateblum says:

    Hey Helen, I saw this and thought of you…. 💕💕💕

    • helenk3 says:

      thank you.
      I wish more people would understand that there is more than options #1 and #2. Until the American people do that the major parties will never feel they have to answer to them.
      It took me a very long time to get to this place but I think more will be joining me in the future

      • lateblum says:

        Been reading about your guy. He sounds good.

        • Somebody says:

          He’s a spoiler puppet put up by the GOPe. He’s on the ballot in 11 states. His sole purpose is as an insurance policy to take votes from Trump and ensure a Hillary win. He’s offered as an alternative to pearl clutchers who are too pure to vote for Trump. Make no mistake, a vote for Evan McMullin is in fact a vote for Hillary Clinton.

          The only state where he really stands a chance is Utah, because he’s Mormon……but hey if he keeps Trump from winning Utah’s 6 electoral votes and it’s close then that throws the race to the House……hello Madame President.

          • Anthony says:

            “The only state where he really stands a chance is Utah, because he’s Mormon……

            Also because Mitt Romney has a lot of power in Utah and is rabid about Trump’s success. He’ll do anything to prevent it, including running McMullen. I gave Evan Mcmullen the benefit of the doubt and actually listened to a few interviews. He sounded smarmy, condescending and angry. Almost like Hillary supporters and many Never Trumpers, but McMullen is a tiny bit more controlled with his outbursts.

          • lyn says:

            No, it will be: “Hello, Madame Mao.” She will oversee her congressional and senate eunuchs.

          • lateblum says:

            Thanks for that>

      • jennifer lyn says:

        Okay people time to OPEN EYES WIDE. If the 3rd or 4th party has zero chance of winning all you do is make sure that the ruling regime wins. And, in case no one is listening TRUMP IS AN OUTSIDE NON POLITICO NEVER BEFORE IN AMERICAN HISTORY HAS A FUCKING CHANCE OF WINNING CANDIDATE WHO WANTS TO CLEAN SWEEP AND CHANGE THINGS FOR REAL. Just saying.

    • CiscoKid says:

      Just about finished my daily ration of veggies.
      Tabasco Bloody Mary Mix and a smidge of vodka.
      Make that a double smidge of vodka.
      I feel healthier already.

  30. Dora says:

    Bill is looking a bit pathetic.

  31. lateblum says:

    See you all tomorrow. Gonna pick up dd#2 and have her over here for dinner and the game. Should be a good night …. Fingers crossed. 🇺🇸⚾️🇺🇸⚾️🇺🇸⚾️🇺🇸

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