Is there room for left-wing populism in American politics?

I joined the podcast “The Same, but Worse” to answer a few questions with burning relevance to modern American politics: What is “progressive populism?” How did Midwesterners respond to the economic challenges of the Farm Crisis and deindustralization in the 1980s? And, of course, which states are in the Midwest?

You can listen to me, along with podcast hosts Andrew Hart, Marshall Steinbaum, and Jerry Vinokurov, discuss those topics–and more!–on the latest episode of “The Same, but Worse”, a podcast devoted to history, politics, sociology, art, and a whole lot more. Here’s where you can do that:

We cover a range of topics including the teaser questions I asked above, but also a few more specific topics you might find interesting (and here’s the link to the SoundCloud page):

  • 2:50: What states are in the Midwest? (Or, really, what states do I study, and what, politically speaking, unites North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin?)
  • 8:00: What do national observers miss when they don’t think about the distinct political histories of groups like the Wisconsin Progressive Party, the Minnesota Independent-Republican Party, the North Dakota Nonpartisan League, and others?
  • 20:45: How has national polarization changed the local politics of the Midwest? After a while discussing “good governance” in the Democratic parties of the Midwest, we note some “good government” Republican governors, from Bob Ray of Iowa to Arne Carlson of Minnesota — and note how Chuck Grassley of Iowa has changed over the last 40 years (a topic I’ve written about in the past)!
  • 30:00: Post-New Deal, left-wing populism in the Midwest: where did it come from?
  • 32:39: How had the Midwest realigned toward Ronald Reagan in 1978 and 1980? From the Carter grain embargo and the deregulation of railroads to the Minnesota Massacre and the rise of dark money in the National Conservative Political Action Committee, why did Midwesterners flock to the Republican Party?
  • 42:24: As close as I’ll ever come to being interesting to an economist, I think: Marshall asks about deregulation of railroads, the Farm Crisis, and Jimmy Carter-era economics — learn more about state ownership and economic populism in the Midwest!
  • 1:00:00: How were North Dakota D-NPLers the best at get-out-the-vote strategies in the 1980s? On phone books, computers, and a creative statewide effort.
  • 1:05:15: I made a mistake! I admit it! Talking about national figures in left-wing populism during the 1980s, specifically Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower, I say Hightower, speaking at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, joked that George H.W. Bush “had a silver foot in his mouth.” He called Bush a “toothache of a man,” while fellow Texan Ann Richards made the “silver foot” comment at the same DNC. Sorry!
  • 1:17:45: We move to a more present-focused look at whether left-wing populism can work in modern U.S. politics.

Again, here’s the link to the interview if you want to save it for later (though I think you should listen to it now)!

My thanks to Andrew, Marshall, and Jerry for the chance to join the podcast and talk about my research! Be sure to follow “The Same, but Worse”, because they have guests much more illustrious than me in past and future episodes!

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