“A mob is coming here in six months to hang the other ninety-five of you damned scoundrels, and I’m undecided whether to stick here with you or go out and lead them.”
— Huey Long, Senate floor speech
Isn’t this an opportunity?
If it is true as Krystal Ball says that the educated elites and financial elites who have maintained the status quo of neoliberalism for 50 years have consolidated behind Joe Biden and the Democratic establishment, wouldn’t that imply that the Republican Party is undefended and up for grabs?
Donald Trump bulldozed the status quo inside the Republican Party without filling the void. Regardless of how you feel about him, Trump isn’t at the helm anymore. The demise of Liz Cheney is further proof that the Republican establishment is dead as a doornail. Why couldn’t some other outsider step into the void and further transform the Republican Party beyond what we have seen over the past four years?
If a true economic populist ran for president in the Republican primary in 2024 while embracing, harnessing and building on Trump’s brand of cultural populism, should we assume that such a candidate would really be at a disadvantage in the field? Could we see another surge of disaffected Democrat and Independent voters voting in the Republican primary and switching parties like we saw in 2016?
In normal times when party systems, establishments and ideologies are healthy and stable, this would be extremely unlikely to happen. Today, we are living through another rough period of transition when the existing party system and its respective ideologies are in the process of collapsing. Voters are migrating between the two parties. Everything will remain in flux until equilibrium is restored.
If a mob has formed that hates the political establishment and wants to replace it, maybe it makes more sense to join it, nurture it, instruct it and lead it than scolding it?
Note: There is no such thing as Right Populism and Left Populism. Populist voters are cultural conservatives and economic moderates who believe in foreign policy restraint.