Ep 148: The GOP’s ‘Rightwing Populism’ Rebrand (Part II) - Messaging Wars in 'White America'

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“The elites are out to get you and your hard-earned pay.” “We’re spending too much on protecting foreign nations and not enough defending our own borders against immigrant invaders.” “China is taking your job and will soon take over your phone.” We are consistently fed this type of “rightwing populism” –– sticking up for the working man against an array of villains: coastal elites, liberal media and foreign boogeymen - but replete with seamy audience flattery, xenophobic and anti-Semitic dogwhistles and confusing, ever-shifting definitions of what exactly constitutes “the elite” and “the media.”

With the rise and eventual presidency of Donald Trump there’s been no shortage of pontificating and reporting about the appeal of “rightwing populism” but one aspect worth dissecting is the way in which wealthy Republican-funded media deliberately seeks to win over confused and sometimes lefty media consumers with a clever mix of faux class warfare, vague appeals to post-partisanship and piggybacking off legitimate discontent with the Democratic party to sow nihilism and suppress voter turnout.

From Jacksonian "Producerism" to Trump’s fake anti-imperialism to the shameless grifts of today’s billionaire-backed hucksters like JD Vance, the right has long tried to soap box about the beleaguered working man and rail against the mysterious - often urban, black, brown or Jewish - authors of his pain and suffering.

In this episode, Part Two of our two-part episode on right-wing populism, we dissect three more tropes of "right-wing populism," detailing the ways the Republican messaging apparatuses seek to rebrand their stale platform every 10 years with a new, tweaked version of warmed over John Bircherism.

Our guest is Poor People's Campaign co-chair Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis.

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