A Populist Revolt -- For Real This Time

The phrase “populist revolt” has been around for a century. But, except for the three failed presidential campaigns of William Jennings Bryan — 1896, 1900, 1908 — we have not had one.

Yet the phrase has survived. Why? Because the Old Boy Network represented by the Council on Foreign Relations is deathly afraid of it. They and their intellectual spokesmen in the media and academia want the voters to believe that the “yokels from the fringes” are a threat to America.

Until this year, populists have been a mere annoyance. But this year, they finally arrived. There are millions of them, and they are ignoring the media. They cannot be manipulated by the Old Boy Network.

The Old Guard at the Grand Old Party have lost control this year. The situation facing Paul Ryan is representative. He was hesitant in backing Trump. Now Trump has returned the favor in Ryan’s own words.Ryan said this on May 6: “I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now.” Trump said this on August 2: “I’m not quite there yet.”

Next Tuesday, August 9, Ryan could lose the Republican primary in his district. An upstart, Paul Nehlen, is running against him. The Republican Party’s establishment is worried that this could be a replay of 2014 when House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost to a political unknown.


Ryan is a promoter of Obama’s TPP: the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 2,000-page monstrosity in which the United States will surrender sovereignty to an Asian version of NAFTA.

Obama has said he will submit it to Congress after the election. This will be a lame-duck Congress. Obama is trusting in the voter’s short memories. Those who vote for the TPP against their constituents’ open hostility will get away with it. The voters will not remember in 2020. All will be forgiven. “Water under the bridge.” This is an anti-democratic power play. It is also an anti-Democrat power play. Clinton has disavowed the TPP.

Obama wants this as his only major victory since 2010’s ObamaCare law. He really has little else to show for his eight years as President. But it looks as though he will not have the votes. The populists really have arrived this year. They do not want globalization.

Ryan has not said that he will actively oppose Obama’s plan to get Congress to support the TPP after the election. He has used free trade rhetoric as a cover.

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There is no free trade associated with the TPP. It does not take 2,000 pages of bureaucratic gibberish to get free trade. All it takes is a straight vote, up or down, on lowering tariff rates by a specific percentage. But the globalists have never wanted free trade. They have wanted managed trade — trade managed by faceless international bureaucrats who cannot be fired by mere politicians.

The bureaucrats are anti-democratic. They do not want to hold power based on the whims of politicians who face fickle voters every few years. They want lifetime jobs and lifetime power over the masses. This is why they have promoted Civil Service laws ever since the 1880’s. The TPP is just the next phase of the bureaucratic power grab that began in the West in the early nineteenth century in France: rule by unelected, self-screened officials. It is the goal of socialists everywhere. Ludwig von Mises described in his 1944 book,Bureaucracy

The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau. What an alluring utopia! What a noble cause to fight!

In the name of free trade, the globalists demand that voters and their political representatives surrender to international bureaucrats.

Trump is opposed to this. He correctly sees this as “Son of NAFTA.”

I am a free trader — reduced sales taxes on imported goods — and I always have been. That goes back to an article I wrote in 1969: “Tariff War Libertarian Style.” But I opposed NAFTA. That was because NAFTA was an anti-free trade. It was the substitution of international bureaucracy for national sovereignty. A reduction in sales taxes on imported goods is hardly worth the surrender of national judicial sovereignty.

Obama understands the nature of this exchange. He wants this as his politically irreversible legacy. He plans to get it from the lame duck Congress this year. Ryan is being coy. He is not talking about TPP.

Most of America’s voters do not want this surrender. The populists surely do not want it. They have finally reappeared as a voting bloc. They have been missing in action ever since 1908. This is a threat to the Old Boy Network that runs this country, and which has been globalist ever since its origins in the aftermath of World War I. It was pioneered by the British intelligentsia in the first decade of the 20th century: the Round Table Network. It set up the Council on Foreign Relations in 1921: the American branch of the Round Table.

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