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Populism Is Not Conservatism

With the western word fixated on where the populist wave that carried the UK out of the EU will next make landfall, it seems a useful time to remind conservatives that populism is not conservatism.

Populism is grievance-focused not governance-oriented and thus produces indiscriminate results.

Three words of populist demagoguery—“hope and change”—can put a Manchurian candidate for the radical Left in the White House in 2008.

Three words of populist demagoguery—“make America great”—can install an ill-informed, politically promiscuous billionaire as the Republican Party’s Presidential nominee in 2016.

Populism is so potent it can even elevate an unremarkable 74-year-old Socialist who believes the U.S. economy can be run on Vermont maple syrup

Taming populist sentiment is like trying to grab hold of liquid mercury.

I suspect Hillary Clinton will be no better at it than 16 GOP Presidential contenders were.

While it is legitimate to suggest that a populist demagogue has more upside than a corrupt, big government elitist, “making America great” will turn into a “hope and change” punchline if Trump does not transition from grievance politics to conservative principles to inform his governance. 

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