The Rise of Populism in 2006
by Jerome Armstrong, Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 09:43:06 AM EDT
I was with Governor Mark Warner and Jim Webb traveling on The Crooked Road and the Blue Ridge Music Trail yesterday in Harrisonburg, Virginia, with some bluegrass music from Trent Wagler and the Steelwheels. A great crowd of 400 people showed up for the event.
What I was struck by was the strong chord of populism in Jim Webb's speech. His biggest applause line was, when talking about Fortune 500 companies, how 40 of them hadn't paid taxes last year-- how the corporations are not paying their fair share.
Is there a populist in the Senate right now? I think Wellstone was a populist; some might say Feingold, who is more of a maverick than anything else.
In the next US Senate, we have the potential to reshape the political dialogue across a lot of different degrees. Having a black man from the south as a Senator in Harold Ford, having a socialist from Vermont as a Senator in Bernie Sanders, and having a libertarian from Montana as a Senator in Jon Tester, all will broaden the Democrats Big Tent.
But it's the populist strain that aims to come to the US Senate that promises the most in terms of reshaping the agenda of this nation. Not only with Sherrod Brown in Ohio and Jim Webb in Virginia, but also with Ned Lamont in Connecticut. They are all figures that signal the rise of people-powered politics this decade, and the entrance into the US Senate of the popular will again.