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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Economic Populism vs. Cultural Populism, 30 Oct 2006
This review is from: What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America (Paperback)
Very well-written account of how Kansas used to be a hotbed of left-wing radicalism that has been seduced into the Republican fold through the use of accusations of 'cultural elitism' against 'liberals' and 'Democrats'. He goes onto advocate the use of economic populism to take on this cultural populism of the Right, and makes 'liberal' use of the example of William Jennings Bryan.

Overall, a very good read and highly recommended although he does a poor job of saying whether this economic populism would be desirable in and of itself rather than as a political ploy: rather than having a go at NAFTA, would it not be more sensible to help poor people adapt to the creative destruction of open markets, as suggested in The Pro-growth Progressive by Gene Sperling? Does Economic nationalism induce a broader less tasteful nativism? There is also the small matter that most Democrats who have run on an economically populist ticket have lost: Bob Shrum ran Al Gore's 'People Against the Powerful' campaign, and several similarly-themed previously, and none have won.

However, regardless of the book's shortcomings in terms of prescription, it's description of political life in Kansas is as necessary as it is compelling: what the Republicans are doing is working, but we need to find a cure that is not as bad as the illness.
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