The Popular Presidency

By Logan Rader— Opinion Editor


The Democratic ballot for the presidential election of 2020 is beginning to resemble a ten-vegetable soup, in that it consists of varying individual components with a single commonality: they are all still vegetables.

The “vegetable” quality referred to in this instance is, of course, populism (which is also a product of grass roots). President Trump ran under a platform that was rife with populist goals such as passing enormous tax cuts, bringing manufacturing jobs back, and urging an increase in domestic production and consumption. These, among many other promises, are what won the election.

Citizens in 2016 felt that the previous administration did little for the working man – the “little guy” who breaks his back at the expense of the elite few. The truth to these assertions matters little, for it can be viewed simply as prospective electability.

Those in the Democratic field for election to the presidency such as Elizabeth Warren have attempted to appeal to the working and middle classes as a result of this. Warren recently conducted a live-stream in which she casually chatted toward those watching while drinking a beer and introducing her husband, and these are historically valuable qualities in those running for political office. How does the old, political adage go? “That’s a president I could have a beer with.”

The trend of political figures filming their nonchalant, private, and albeit uneventful lives does not stop with Warren. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D. NY) as well as former Senate candidate and potential Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke have also made the popular move toward live-streaming (the latter streamed his incredibly personal dental visit), and this is indicative of where our attention to the presidency will lie in 2020 and further. For example, A.O.C.’s ideal, top-heavy tax policy (70% of income after $10 million earned) has gained immense national attention over the last week.

These populist stances are a winning formula for any modern presidential candidate. It was the success of the Trump campaign and will probably be equally, if not more crucial to winning the election of 2020. The American Political Science Association’s yearly conference of 2019 is set to discuss exactly this subject: populism, and our collective introspection should take two steps back along with it. Government is not quite the problem, but our connection to the highest office in the land is an unrealistic circumvention of the political system.

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