s the primaries for the 2016 US presidential election draw near, we are seeing is a rebirth of the populist uprising that began almost 100 years ago, with the qualified John Quincy Adams and the famous Andrew Jackson. Then, as now, populists want a famous action man who can fight, “regardless of whether or not he or she has a coherent or consistent conservative record or philosophy.” While there are several candidates reminiscent of Andrew Jackson’s appeal, Donald Trump is the one causing the most trouble right now, specifically to the Republican Party. Despite comments that many view as racist, insensitive, etc. Trump is connecting with a good chunk of Americans who feel disconnected and disenfranchised with the US political system, and moreover, “politicians” as a class. While most conservatives who desperately want to win the Republican nomination have to worry about alienating Hispanic voters, populists have incentive to do just the opposite in order to drum up controversy, anxiety, and support.
For example, Mr. Trump’s famous quote: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists…” While this is not the first time Jacksonian populism has affected US politics, the problem today is a different one: trust in institutions, like political parties or TV stations, has eroded to an all-time low, empowering people who stand in contrast to the establishment. Add to that the absence of a controlling legal or moral authority to tell candidates to get in line. The Republican party has a big problem: the populist wave has swept its ranks, and what we are witnessing with Donald Trump “isn’t just populism, it’s populism on crack”.
Donald Trump: Four Reasons He’s Leading in Polls || WSJ