Singal Interview – Podcast January 24, 2022

The History Of Trump’s Paranoid Style Of Politics. Friend of the show, author Dan Singal, joins Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland to discuss the rural/urban divide and how Trumpism came about. He explains the phenomenon by referencing Richard Hofstadter, perhaps America’s greatest historian.

Singal explains that Hofstadter found that this form of populism is a fairly unique to the United States – “This notion that you see in rural America, people in small towns mostly, imagining that there is some grand conspiracy afoot that is out there trying to destroy them. And that they, in turn, must destroy it.”

He notes that Hofstadter traces it back to the 1840s when there was an enormous uproar over Catholic immigrants arriving in the country. And that it has resurfaced numerous times: In the 1890s over something called the Gold Trust, in the 1920s with fundamentalist religion and the Ku Klux Klan, in the fifties with McCarthyism, and in the sixties with the Goldwater movement.

Singal then quotes Hofstadter who described the phenomenon this way: “The Goldwater movement is a revolt against the whole modern condition as the old-fashioned American sees it. Against the world of organization and bureaucracy, the welfare state, our urban disorders, secularism, and the emergence of unwelcome international burdens. Their basic feeling is a hatred of what America has become. And a fierce and uncompromising insistence that it be made into what they think it once was.” Hofstadter also noted: “The word conservatism is precious to them because it conceals the wild utopianism that emerges out of their nostalgia. When in all our history has anyone with ideas so bizarre, so archaic, so self-confounding, so remote from the basic America consensus ever gone so far?”

Is that not Make America Great Again?

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