Revival of Interest in Populism
Sudden Emergence of Populism in 1972 Campaign
POPULISM, a venerable but unstable political movement, is making a comeback after an absence of more than three decades from the American scene. The populist constituency consists of the disadvantaged and the discontented—that silent majority from Middle America that sings the blue-collar blues. If populism is broadly defined as a political program designed to benefit the underdog, it can be said to have produced such disparate leaders as Andrew Jackson, William Jennings Bryan, Franklin D.Roosevelt, and Huey Long.
The two foremost exponents of populism in its current reincarnation are Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota and Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama, candidates for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination. Both represent states that were strongholds ...