Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Michael Lind On Populism And Elites

He’s one of a kind in his intellectual idiosyncrasies and consistency.

(We’ll be back next Friday with the usual Weekly Dish, alongside another Dishcast and window contest, after this Easter weekend.)

Michael, an old friend and acquaintance, is a writer and academic. He’s taught at Harvard, Johns Hopkins and UT-Austin. He’s been an editor or staff writer for The New Yorker, Harper’s and The New Republic, where I published him often, and he now writes frequently for the NYT and Financial Times. Michael also co-founded the think tank New America. The author of many books, his most recent is The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite, and his forthcoming book is Hell to Pay: How the Suppression of Wages is Destroying America.

You can listen to the episode right away in the audio player above (or on the right side of the player, click “Listen On” to add the Dishcast feed to your favorite podcast app — though Spotify sadly doesn’t accept the paid feed). For two clips of our convo — on how big donors have stymied populists, and how Biden is better at Trumpism than Trump — pop over to our YouTube page.

Other topics: Michael’s upbringing in Texas; his ancestors who were indentured servants; the ways white Southerners dealt with desegregation better than the North; how white immigrants learned to be American from black Southerners; why Robert Conquest’s The Great Terror was the most important book Michael ever read; the evils of Soviet and Chinese communism; Krauthammer’s “The Unipolar Moment”; neoliberals getting the WTO and NAFTA; the collapse of unions; the rise of woke capitalism; Michael’s longstanding worries over free trade and mass immigration; the 2008 financial crisis; the disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan; the dangers of elite consensus; Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot as forerunners to Trump; the populist success of Santorum and Huckabee; the corrupt mayors James Curley and Marion Berry; the Cathedral culture of the MSM; the potential of DeSantis to dethrone Trump; and Biden’s prospects in 2024.


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