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Paul Krugman: Trump’s ‘populism’ is a cruel joke that only harms those he’s claiming to help

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As president of the United States, Donald J. Trump has preached a right-wing brand of populism that often echoes Patrick Buchanan’s nationalist and protectionist themes and utter contempt for “elites” — and Trump’s rally in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday made it clear that he will be hitting those themes aggressively in his 2020 reelection campaign. But economist Paul Krugman, in a New York Times column published this week, outlines the many ways in which Trump’s “populism” is a cruel joke that only hurts the working class Americans he is claiming to look out for.

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Krugman recalls that when Trump was running for president in 2016, he famously declared, “I love the poorly educated.” And Trump, Krugman notes, “sounded as if he might be a European-style populist, blending racism with support for social programs that benefit white people.”

Krugman unfavorably compares Trump to far-right Hungarian President Viktor Orbán, pointing out that Orbán talks like a populist yet has “promoted crony capitalism on a grand scale.” But at least Orbán, Krugman asserts, has offered “a bit of actual populism” and policies that “offer some benefits to the little guy” — whereas Trump hasn’t even done that much. And so many of the things that Trump has done as president, Krugman complains, have been terrible for the working class.

For example, Krugman writes, the GOP’s “2017 tax cut was a huge break for corporations and business owners. The handful of crumbs thrown at ordinary families was so small that most people believe they got nothing at all.” On top of that, Krugman adds, Trump “keeps trying to destroy key provisions of Obamacare — protection for pre-existing conditions, premium subsidies and the expansion of Medicaid — even though these provisions are highly popular and have been of enormous benefit to states like Kentucky and West Virginia that favored him by huge margins.”

Krugman goes on to say that while Trump uses tariffs to set himself apart from the GOP establishment, tariffs only hurt the “little guy.”

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“Trump may believe that he can make up for his pro-plutocrat tax and health policies with tariffs, his one significant deviation from GOP orthodoxy,” Krugman observes. “But despite Trump’s insistence that foreigners will pay the tariffs, an overwhelming majority of noncollege whites believe that they will end up paying more for the things they buy.”

Although Krugman never mentions President Richard Nixon in his June 17 column, it should be noted that Nixon also championed a right-wing populism. But Nixon combined his anti-communism, tough-on-crime rhetoric, social conservatism and nationalist themes with a support for universal health care and social programs like Social Security and Medicare; Trump, in contrast, has done nothing but undermine the United States’ social safety net.

Krugman wraps up his column by stressing that Trump hasn’t “engaged in even a smidgen of actual populism,” thus giving Democrats a golden opportunity to offer a viable alternative if they play their cards right.

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“The simple fact is that Trump isn’t a populist, unless we redefine populism as nothing but a synonym for racism,” Krugman asserts. “At least some in the white working class seem to have realized that he’s not on their side. And Democrats would be foolish not to make the most of this opening.”


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Historians demolish John Yoo for claim Founding Fathers wouldn’t want Trump impeached in an election year

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Comments made by attorney and law professor John Yoo on Fox News on the Founding Father's intentions about impeachment received a brutal debunking by two historians -- including one of his colleagues at UC Berkeley.

Appearing with Fox News personality Laura Ingraham, lawyer Yoo -- who is infamous for providing President George W. Bush's administration with legal justifications for the torture of prisoners of war -- claimed that the Founding Fathers would object to the president being impeached in an election year.

According to Yoo, Democrats are getting it all wrong when they say the Constitution compels them to hold impeachment proceedings against Trump just one year before the election.

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McConnell drops a surprise on Trump — calls for an even stronger resolution to rebuke him

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated he opposes the bill out of the House to denounce President Donald Trump's military withdrawal in Syria because it isn't tough enough, reported Bloomberg's Steven Dennis.

https://twitter.com/StevenTDennis/status/1184840222846148608

"My first preference is for something stronger than the House resolution," McConnell said according to Bloomberg's Laura Litvan.

She went on to say that McConnel wants a bill that outlines what action should take place in Syria.

McConnell said the House version was "curiously silent on the issue of whether to actually to sustain a U.S. military presence in Syria."

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Mad dog Trump and his Bible-thumping kennel pals: White House theocrats may be the biggest danger of all

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“I have done nothing to harm these people but they are angered with me, so what do they do, doctor up some income tax, for which they have no case… to harass a peaceful man.”

You could be excused for thinking that Donald Trump spoke these words of self-pity. In fact, they’re from Robert de Niro, playing that other gangster, Al Capone, in the 1987 movie The Untouchables, written by David Mamet.

Like Trump, a would-be dictator madly claiming the overwhelming support of the populace, the real-life Capone insisted that his criminal acts satisfied “a public demand.” He declared, “I am just a businessman, giving the people what they want.” And a certain percentage of the civilian population—Capone’s “base,” if you will—thought he was just swell.

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