Populist Constitutionalism and the Tea Party

The Tea Party is a unique populist movement and moment in American history. There is no charismatic leader of the party. The Tea Party has more grassroots movers, shakers, and members than any other populist movement ever seen in our country. So what makes it so different from previous populist political factions? "Populism" is a vague political concept. There have been populist (and wannabe populist) political movements on the left, on the right, and even in the middle (wherever that is) in the history of American politics. None of the movements were particularly successful -- and many of them were outright scams. On the left, think of Democrat Senator John Edwards's attempt to define himself as a "populist" with his "two Americas" speeches. A multimillionaire trial lawyer tried to get himself elected President of the United States on the hypocritical distinction between "us and them" -- the rich and the poor. Edwards, of course, portrayed...(Read Full Article)