I’m looking for a GQ answer to the question in the title but I also hope for some robust debate around my premises. Hence, GD.
The news that Obama’s support among the white working class is close to a record low for a democratic president…
…got me thinking about previous periods in history where parties of the right were popular among the working class.
It seems to me that the natural order of things is that working class folks tend to support parties of the left and that rich folks tend to support parties of the right but that, occasionally, and especially during times of economic stress, this natural order of things is inverted.
This paper documents the phenomenon in various European countries but I hope you’ll agree that the Tea Party provides a strong parallel in the United States.
The paper offers several interesting hypotheses as to what triggers this kind of inversion as well as some hard data documenting the phenomenon but what I am really interested in learning is whether there are any precedents for right-wing populist parties (in that paper’s jargon, RPPs) gaining power and using it to good ends.
I hope and expect that my assumptions will be robustly challenged and will consider this thread to be a success if someone can point out examples of right-wing populist movements that resulted in admirable outcomes. I also hope that the shade of Godwin’s ghost will not cast its shadow here.