Populism Killed the Republican Party

Anti-elite attitude personified by Palin drove away base
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Oct 10, 2008 10:55 AM CDT
President Bush tries on a cowboy hat given to him by members of the Naval Academy football team, Monday, April 14, 2008 in the Rose Garden as he presented them with the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy.    (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
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(Newser) – Anti-intellectual populism has reduced the Republicans to a resentful rump party, writes David Brooks in the New York Times. A movement that once prized good ideas began to rely on bashing the educated as a political tactic. “What had been a disdain for liberal intellectuals slipped into a disdain for the educated class as a whole.” In the process, the party drove away much of the country.

Whole professions have jumped ship on the GOP. “It took talent for Republicans to lose the banking community,” Brooks writes. Sarah Palin captures the essence of this populism, leading a party “squeezed at both ends,” unable to create policy to address working class anxieties, and unable to win the educated elites it demonizes.