Skip to content

He’s so populist: Trump, Sanders and beyond

Political Theater, Episode 113

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders arrives at a rally at University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Tuesday.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders arrives at a rally at University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump says he’s for “the forgotten man.” Sen. Bernie Sanders made his slogan “Not me. Us.” We’re amid a surge in populist politics. Where does it all lead?

According to Daron Acemoglu, an economics professor at MIT and co-author of “The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty,” such populist movements pop up every so often, and they can lead to big societal changes.

Whether it comes from the Guilded Age or the Great Depression, populist politicians have shaped society for generations, by busting trusts, creating Social Security or securing the Voting Rights Act.

Who gets to shape the future obviously depends on how the 2020 campaign shakes out, but the political conversation has already been altered by the likes of Trump, Sanders and others looking to borrow from their playbooks.

Acemoglu talks with Political Theater about how we got here and where we might be headed.

Show Notes:

Recent Stories

Latest Biden, Harris pitch to Black voters slams Trump in crucial battleground

House Ethics forms subpanel to probe Cuellar’s alleged bribery scheme

Alito rejects requests to step aside from Trump-related cases

Capitol Ink | Aerial assault

Auto parts suppliers fear a crash with shift to EVs

As summer interns descend on the Hill, this resource office is ready