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As Predicted, Populism Is On the Rise - Who's Laughing Now?

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Back in August, I wrote an article for the Huffington Post entitled "An Economic Populist Is Rising In the GOP Presidential Primary." In that article, I predicted that Republican Mike Huckabee would rise and potentially win the Iowa caucuses based on his relentless focus on economic inequality and class-based populism. I chided the media and Democrats for ignoring him, and when I wrote this article, I was laughed at by many reporters, pundits and readers alike.

In November, I wrote a nationally syndicated column for Creators Syndicate entitled "The Huey Longs of Iowa" about both Huckabee and John Edwards. I once again noted that these two underdog candidates were competing in the Iowa caucus despite being outspent precisely because both men were running as bare-knuckled economic populists. As the only nationally syndicated columnist to write something like this, I was largely dismissed and laughed off by national political reporters, pundits and many readers, with most telling me the Iowa race was between only Romney and Giuliani on the Republican side, and only Clinton and Obama on the Democratic side (You can read both articles attached below).

Now the results are in: Huckabee has resoundingly won the Iowa caucuses, John Edwards is in a dogfight with Barack Obama, who has over the last month adopted much of Edwards' populist rhetoric. That Edwards is even in this race at all, and that Huckabee won is a success for both candidates considering they were grossly outspent by candidates being funded by huge corporate interests. More importantly, these results (regardless of who ends up winning what is effectively a tie in the Democratic race) resoundingly support precisely what I wrote way back when the Punditburo in Washington was still berating economic populism, and downplaying the very real class-based anger that is roiling America.

In the last week, a few columnists have scurried to point out what I pointed out a long time ago about both Huckabee and Edwards - as if it is some sort of new revelation that the country is ready for a truly populist economic politics. However, watching CNN, it is clear national political reporters will continue to ignore economic populism's central role in American politics. When it comes to Huckabee, all the talk is about religious conservatism, even as conservative publications like the Weekly Standard have very recently acknowledged that Huckabee's economic message is what has propelled him to victory. Similarly, when it comes to Edwards miraculously being in the middle of the race despite being outspent, all the talk is about the horserace. It is as if the Washington media and political Establishment will do anything to pretend that the public's anger at corporate greed and economic inequality simply does not exist.

They don't want to admit this anger exists because it fundamentally indicts the corrupt system that has allowed such economic oppression to flourish - a corrupt system brought on by the hostile takeover of our government by big money interests that I described in my first book. But, as they say, the numbers do not lie. They are there for all to see - and they prove what I and many progressives have been saying for years.

To read the Huffington Post article about Huckabee from back in August, go to:


To read the nationally syndicated Creators column about Huckabee and Edwards from back in November, go to:


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David Sirota is a full-time political journalist, best-selling author and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist living in Denver, Colorado. He blogs for Working Assets and the Denver Post's PoliticsWest website. He is a Senior Editor at In These Times magazine, which in 2006 received the Utne Independent Press Award for political coverage. His 2006 book, Hostile Takeover, was a New York Times bestseller, and is now out in paperback. He has been a guest on, among others, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and NPR. His writing, which draws on his (more...)

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