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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.

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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Jeffrey Epstein’s IT consultant reveals he saw girls who ‘couldn’t have more than 15 or 16’ on private island

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ABC News broke a story just after midnight Thursday about a former IT consultant of Jeffrey Epstein's who resigned because he couldn't take some of the things he was seeing on Epstein's private island compound.

The island, which has been called "pedophile island" by locals, had "topless women everywhere.

"There were photos of topless women everywhere," said contractor Steve Scully, who began working for Epstein in 1999 and continued for six years. "On his desk, in his office, in his bedroom."

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‘Names are going to start coming out’: New report says more elites will be exposed in the Epstein case — and ‘DC is on edge’

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Will other powerful people — presumably men — get taken down as a result of the sex trafficking case against Jeffrey Epstein?

That’s the hope of many closer followers of the story, but it’s far from clear what, if any, fallout there will be. Epstein’s connections to Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have raised suspicions about potential evidence of their wrongdoing, such suspicions remain unproven. Alan Dershowitz has already faced accusations of being involved in Epstein’s crimes, though he denies the charge vigorously.

But a new report from Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman says that “DC is on edge” over the Epstein case, and any elites who have run in his circles could be involved. Dozens of girls, if not more, are believed to be involved in his alleged sex trafficking, and lawyers for some of the women who have accused Epstein are strongly suggesting that other high-profile figures will be implicated.

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‘It’s so un-American’: Internet scorches Trump supporters for racist chants of ‘Send her back!’

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The ignoble highlight of President Donald Trump's rally in Greenville, North Carolina on Wednesday was when his fans doubled down on his racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color and targeted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), chanting "Send her back! Send her back!"

Political commentators of all stripes were gobsmacked by the crowd's naked racism — and buried them in condemnation:

The crowd at Trump’s rally chanting “send her back” after the President viciously and dishonestly attacked Ilhan Omar is one of the most chilling and horrifying things I’ve ever seen in politics.

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