While it is possible to be Liberal & Populist…
One cannot be both Conservative and Populist.
The more of one you are, the less of the other you will be.
Because populism is just leftist ‘demand side’ economics mixed in with a sprinkling of nationalism for garnish.
There is no defensible reason behind any of it – and in fact, some of it is quite laughable (Trump, in the pocket of ‘Big Ag’ bashing ‘Big Oil’ as some unAmerican foreign menace when the US is now the world’s #1 oil producer… Yo, Donald Chump!!! Are you going to hypocritically bash ‘Big Corn’ in North Dakota & Texas next, or are you going to keep up your nice MoveOn.org ‘Oil Sucks’ routine in oil-producing states?).
It’s just about ‘what feels good’ now or ‘what felt good’ in the past.
Never mind the economic truths in question (Tarriffs are always bad. Imports help keep prices down & goods affordable. *Legal* Immigrants grow GDP. Moving money around does not actually create demand.), to a populist it’s all about *feeling* and working the crowd.
A con game.
It may ‘sound good’ to say ‘Screw the Bigs’ – but at the end of the day, those ‘bigs’ are the American economy.
It may sound good to talk about driving up wages by having government strangle the labor-supply or tax imports – but YOU AND I pay those inflated wages/prices – making them just as much a tax as the one you pay on April 15th.
It may sound ‘cool’ to talk about ‘Spending money at home’ that should have been spent on the military – but how is that different from Obama’s ‘Stimulus’? It’s still wasting government money on domestic pork – money that should either be spent on things the government needs to do (Building the ‘Donald Trump Memorial Bridge-to-Nowhere’ is not one of those, no matter how many jobs it creates), or given back as a tax-cut!
At the end of the day, it is the Democrats’ rant about ‘Income Inequality’ and wealth-redistribution, just disguised behind a ‘Buy American’ sticker…
It is the ideology of low-information-voters who are smart enough to turn down Democrats’ base appeals to ‘getting free stuff’, but will swallow the same rubbish if it’s just salted with a little nationalism.
And it will kill the Conservative movement if we give even the slightest bit of it a home in our tent.