Episode

6/9 What Will Happen When American Populism, Nationalism, and Growing Socialism Collide? w/ John B. Judis

June 9, 2021

Sam and Emma host John B. Judis, Editor-at-Large at Talking Points Memo, to discuss his new book ‘The Politics of Our Time: Populism, Nationalism, Socialism,’ on the political movements in America so far in the 21st century and what conflicts and influences they might have on one another in the coming decades. They walk through the thin ideology of populism as creating a dichotomy between “the people” and “the elite,” how these definitions can (and do) diverge between the Left and Right with someone like Trump combining pro-domestic industry rhetoric with anti-union and anti-immigrant policy, and get into a debate around the questionable importance and morality of the Left recognizing nationalism, and whether that line gets drawn at the border, at citizenship status, or elsewhere. Next, they look into the rebirth of U.S. socialism under the Scandinavian model before Judis explores how socialism and populism have grown together in U.S. history, and gives us his takes on why the kids aren’t alright with capitalism. Sam and Emma round out the first half with discussions on how the internalized trauma from the U.S. healthcare system has contributed to vaccination hesitancy, and unpack Judis’ conflation of Left populism and pure Right-wing nationalism and whether his takes on the failures of Left-wing anti-nationalism were exaggerated or not.

And in the Fun Half: After reflecting further on the interview, Sam and Emma chat with born-again leftist Jason on his libertarian indoctrination, escaping the hate-spiral chokehold of the online alt-right, and how, particularly when it comes to issues such as the Great Gay Cake Debate, libertarian logic begins to crumble with any scrutiny. Then, Louie Gohmert chimes in with his thoughts on the effects of stars and space rocks on our Earthly environment as Emma ironically nails the status of Mercury retrograde, Jean from Springfield discusses the danger of falling into the nationalist trap of disguising culture war as class analysis, and Tom McDonald, fresh off his first trip to Sandals Jamaica (judging by the haircut at least), struggles with both rhyme and reason as he forces more culture war references into three and a half minutes than any angry Canadian could ever imagine. AOC finds the cracks in Manchin’s shield of bipartisanship and the staff gives out their book recommendations, plus, your calls and IMs!

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