The 2,100-year-old Word for Trumpism

By Michael Tomasky in the Daily Beast, March 20

Welcome to – new word alert! – ochlocracy.

Don’t know what that means? Better learn it fast. It basically means mob rule. No different from mobocracy, I suppose, but as Trump himself would say, much, much classier!

Does this not describe pretty perfectly what is happening in the Republican Party right now? The plebeians here are the working-class Republicans – you know, the “poorly educated!” – who’ve been voting for Republicans for four decades now because of God and guns but have been getting taken to the cleaners economically by a party that may sort of care about them on some level but that, when it attains power, actually executes actions only on behalf of the 1 percent; a party whose entire economic agenda is determined by the 1 percent. Or more likely the 0.1 percent. They’re the patricians who dictate Republican economic policy.

Well, the plebeians have finally risen up. It was bound to happen. Now, my sympathy for them is limited. Trump hooked them with xenophobia and racism. Make no mistake. That’s the opioid here. Without it, Trump wouldn’t have gained altitude with these people, and that’s to their shame.

But xenophobia and racism aren’t all this is about. It’s also about economic rage. That’s why there’s a kind of crossover between some Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders voters, some people out there who are deciding between the two of them. Sanders is Trump without the racism. Well, and a lot of the personal coarseness and human repugnance. But they’re the two candidates who are talking to struggling and angry white Americans.


3 responses to “The 2,100-year-old Word for Trumpism

  1. In his book, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, Jon Meacham writes that when it became clear that Bush was going to be the Republican presidential candidate in the ’88 presidential race, Trump contacted the Bush campaign, “To mention his availability as a vice presidential candidate” (page 326).

    If true, Trump has had is eye on the White House for a very long time and ironically is within sight of the presidency now due to economic and social conditions set in motion when Bush was Ronald Reagan’s VP. According to Meacham, Bush found Trumps offer, “Strange and unbelievable”. A view many of us share but Bush and the Republican leadership has some responsibility for creating the political opportunities that Trump is currently seizing.

  2. Who leads or follows whom? Is it the ‘mob rule’ of ‘struggling and angry white Americans’ or ‘the two candidates who are talking to (them)’?
    A puzzling question, indeed.

  3. mike holliday

    The Greek states tried it all. Rule by individuals; priests; kings; the learned; the rich; aristocrats; commoners; tyrants and indeed the anarchic.
    Eventually the systems evolved into one where everyone has an input into the formation of a ruling body.
    It’s not perfect, but to paraphrase Winston Churchill, it’s better than all the others.
    The problem for the US is that the system works best when all the groups providing interest more or less balance.
    Not in America today. The rich are hyper-rich; the establishment (the Bushes, the Clintons, etc.) is entrenched; and just where the military stands is not clear, but what is clear is that it is all powerful and beyond reproach, both because of the power and because the vast majority of Americans have been conditioned to `love’ their security.
    These are prime conditions for a rabble-rousing orator — and you’ve got one.