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What is a Populist, Anyway?

Photo by  FRANK FRANKLIN II/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Photo by FRANK FRANKLIN II/ASSOCIATED PRESS

As Hillary Clinton launched her campaign officially, many journalists described her message as being distinctly populist.  The New Yorker, in fact, described her speech on Saturday by saying, “If there was ever any doubt that Hillary Clinton was going to run a populist Presidential campaign, she dispelled it on Saturday with her speech on Roosevelt Island. Seeking to move beyond the controversies surrounding her family’s charitable foundation and her deleted e-mails, she spoke about the great disjuncture in the modern U.S. economy, and portrayed herself as an indefatigable battler for ordinary Americans.”  It’s notable that she spoke on Roosevelt Island, and the theme of her speech was the “four fights,” which hearkens back to Franklin Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” speech. (A seminal speech in American history, which I strongly encourage everyone to read.) Read the rest of this entry