Great Minds P1 – Jim Hightower – Is populism different than progressivism?

Great Minds P1 – Jim Hightower – Is populism different than progressivism?

welcome back the big picture for tonight's conversations with great minds I'm joined by one of the Giants of American progressive politics twice elected as the Texas agriculture commissioner jim hightower has pretty much done at all he's national radio host a writer columnist he's even worked on a few presidential campaigns including ralph nader's 2000 run which he co-chaired jim is also the author of a number of books including his latest swim against the current even a dead fish can go with the flow Jim Hightower it's great to have a video Tom and you're the first one ever to say that I have a great mind I don't know how to get my mind around the head I believe it to be true it's absolutely believed it to be true I want to start at the beginning what got you interested in politics the civil rights movement to start with I went through high school and segregated schools in Denison Texas then went to college about 60 miles away at the University of North Texas which is the first school in Texas to integrate and sat next to African American kids from my town of Denison whom I'd never known so that's an awakening and I you know it's not that was the first encounter but still it was the first very broad scene of how we've been lied to and then falling on that was the Vietnam War and so all this was in the 60s and so immersed in that and and during the my college time I had discovered populism I knew what it was instinctively but I had no idea it had a name or a history and etc but uh but the basic history course and at the University of North Texas showed you know sockless Jerri Simpson and Mary Ellen leaves the Kansas pythoness and pictures of them then said and I realized that as I read about them that this is who my parents were and this is who my the folks that I grew up with basically were they were working stiffs they were small-town businesspeople they were just plain folks and you know if you'd knocked on the door of my father's home and as a poster and said are you a liberal or conservative he would have said well I'm a conservative you know but then if you talked about what Walmart was doing to his little business if you talked about what the bank holding companies were doing to squeeze people I can leave you talked about what the Big Oil Corporation we're doing to the legislature you scratched William Jennings Bryan you know hey and so they led me to finally conclude that the real political spectrum in our country is not right to left liberal or conservative that's ideology it's Theory the real spectrum is top to bottom that's where you live that's your zip code it's the ownership class versus the owned yeah you know where you are there and the great majority I'm gonna say 80% of American people know today that they're no longer in shouting distance of those powers at the top or that they call themselves Democrats or Republicans conservatives or liberals and that's the rebellion that we're now seeing in both political parties and the rebellion that had preceded it which is occupied fight for 15 black lives matter I mean these movements had been building for the last several years so Jenner now explode you define all those as populist movements yeah you know I was a member of SDS and I and and originally SDS was organized around social justice racial justice social justice workplace justice and working in communities of color poverty those kind of things to Port Huron Statement you know right and and then became they've kind of morphed into the anti-war movement and when I got into it it was more the anti-war movement it was 67 68 69 and and looking back on it I'm not sure that that was a populist movement I think it was a popular movement there was a lot of angry young people who are convinced their government was trying to kill them but they did kill correctly yes but it's you know was Huey Long a populist I mean it is yes long was a populist uh he was also a bit of a demagogue and that's different and that's and that's that's a difference between Bernie Sanders and Donny Trump you know being a misogynist a racist you know etc is is not populism that's demagoguery but taking on populism comes down to the great fight that American politics has always been about and it comes down to this thought too few people control too much of the money and power and they're using that money in power to get more for themselves at our expense what do you got three you know had a song about alcohol is pretty both Floyd they outlaw had a verse that is through this world I travel I see lots of funny man somewhere rob beer with a six-gun and some with a fountain pen so it's the fountain pens who are doing the serious stealing in our society today and you know that's the the economists have a technical term for what's happening to us and it's stealing so the populace is the one calling them out so that that would be like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and sherrod Brown and those fascinating is within populism I mean we've talked about you know the demagoguery but what about the difference between a progressive populist and a conservative populist I'm if Donald Trump was not a misogynist and in a general jerk if he was you know a little more genteel and more thoughtful or whatever it's genteel it a I think it's a focus on on real power I guess my question is is it possible for a conservative Republican to be a populist I think it's difficult because you really have to take on the money powers and most conservatives don't want to do that but yes it's it's possible I mean the Theodore Roosevelt did bad but he was a progressive but again caught him yes he would not call himself conservative he called himself a progressive well depending on when you looked at him yeah but yeah but yes yes so so he he had those elements but it was because he took on the great malefactors of wealth he took on Wall Street he called for the well the original populist movement and that's where you got to really go back to there was a movement in this country a grassroots vast mass progressive movement that took factory workers and ordinary dirt farmers and put them into a coalition that was first based on culture because people were illiterate out in the rural areas of our country and and they they had proper instincts they had proper values but they didn't know history they didn't know government and etc so first they educated people they began as that and then it really then focused on the economics for example of farmers so railroads were squeezing them squeezed and farmers in terms of we're talking like 1880 to 1910 well 1880 to about 1900 really and and so the the railroad monopolies could cheat farmers and charging to get their product to market the banks were overcharging farmers on interest rates and that sort of thing so farmers went into rebellion but not just protesting they had an intellectual concept and they got together and they figured out what did we had cooperatives what have we owned was the Grange yeah it began as The Grange that's right and what have we owned the we had the ability to lend money to ourselves and what have we had the ability to move our products to market through cooperative originally what we had the ability to store our grain and etcetera until the market improved so that became the populist movement and only later did it become a political movement and the People's Party was formed and and it was the first party to call up for women's suffrage the first party to call for wage and hour laws for labor the first party to call from direct election of senators the first party to call for this and that and that and the newbie gold essentially came out of this populist movement and and then it led into the progressive movement which is Roosevelt and fighting Bob LaFollette and but then into into Franklin D Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt as well yeah and Francis Perkins yes and a bikini and it became the not the modern Democratic Party but the modern-day Democratic Party up until around 1992 yes but it was also the progenitor of the real Democratic Party because the the Democrats had become as some have today corporatized version have Democrats in the 1920s and then Roosevelt and John L Lewis the labor movement and Frances Perkins and some intellectuals you know came together but also would just grassroots people and they said we're gonna do it different we're gonna go back to the concept of grassroots populism real fighting the money powers and on behalf of the people you know you've been in elected politics in Texas you've been politically active in Texas you've been an activist a writer radio commentator all these kind of things I think pretty much always from what I know of you and I've read at least I think two of your books always wither in the mud or read them a book so money always in the frame of the Democratic Party and I'm wondering how the Democratic Party in your mind has changed from the time you first identified as a Democrat to today well I can be fairly precise way that I was elected Texas agriculture commissioner in 1982 we had a unified campaign and Richards was elected state treasurer Jim Maddox was elected Attorney General Gary moral land commissioner we're a unified campaign we were each one had a kind of our own constituency and our own approach and we've worked together and we and we all won and because we'd campaign together then we were able to relate to each other and govern together in a way that would actually produce results shortly after that our party in Texas began to abandon its grassroots focus and to say well look we could text we could get some of that corporate money too and then we could put our ads on television and that's the future well I can tell you if you take that corporate check written on the back of it is the corporate agenda and so suddenly our party quit talking about good jobs and good wages stop talking about the costs to go to college stop talking about the the basic issues the pothole issues that really affect people where they live and so people quit hearing themselves in the political debate and big surprise they quit voting so Texas didn't turn conservative it turned into a non-voting state in the last election of nineteen I'm sorry a 2014 congressional elections we had the lowest voter turnout in America we had 28% that people vote so that means these right-wing Republicans down there are getting elected with about 17 18 percent of people but we're not getting 19 percent other people and so we that's what we have to dent is that because the Democratic parties just left people behind and so they say screw it yes yes and people I mean you know turnout is based on turn on yeah and and we're not judge we're not turning people on by saying here's what we're gonna do that's what Bernie Sanders has done you know for the Democratic Party and I say it's for the Democratic Party it's not for himself it's it's not for a segment of the Democratic Party as say let's get back to our roots FDR Eleanor Roosevelt let's get back to that and talk about what ordinary people can get out of other political system Woody Guthrie said rich people took their money with politics you can get it back politics and that's what Bernie is basically saying but that's what that's the kind of politics we're trying to build back in Texas going back to the grassroots you know the fun theory is that well the demographic of mexican-americans that'll just help turn Texas blue not unless you have something to say to it and create a real politics that makes them want to go vote there you go everybody yeah yeah but more off tonight's conversation so the great minds of Jim Hightower right after the break

11 thoughts on “Great Minds P1 – Jim Hightower – Is populism different than progressivism?

  1. I absolutely cannot stand either one of these bleeding heart libtard conspiracy theorist hypocritical idiots.

  2. Jim is one of my political heroes. In 1995, after the Democrats lost control of Congress for the first time in 40 years, Pres. Clinton phoned Jim asking for advice. Jim told him that his party needs to get back in touch with the voters. Jim suggested that instead of giving a radio speech the way Reagan used to, Clinton turn that half-hour into a sort of talk-radio format and accept calls from ordinary voters and listen to what they had to say. A great idea but sadly, Clinton decided to listen to his $100,000-a-year political consultants who recommended that Clinton "turn more to the right" since they claimed that this was the direction the nation was going and abandon the populist promises he made during the 1992 election. Thus, Clinton ignored Jim's advice and destroyed the Democratic Party in the process.

  3. If it comes down to that the FBI doesn't do their job not indicting Hillary Clinton and the investigation of illegal voting and not counting the exit poll ballots and Bernie is not on the ticket. The only thing that the American people can do that wants to make the establishment be extinct is to vote for Jill Stein same platform as Bernie Sanders does and that's the best option we have. Because some states disk and writing Bernie Sanders name. But if Hillary is indicted and there is voter fraud shown on her part in the hall are off to jail. Then I will Bernie will be on the ticket and then a voting for Bernie Sanders but if Bernie's non the ticket that we the people that supported Bernie Sanders has to vote for Joel stein. Because the establishment with the corporate as democrats and the crony capitalism Republicans have destroyed democracy and they should not be in power anymore and expressly after 911 George W. Bush and Dick Cheney had 7 warnings before 911 happen and did do a damn thing to try to stop it and they were begging the United Nations for America of the go in Iraq instead of going to Afghanistan to get Bid Laden and it is kind of something and howled George W bush family knew the Bid Laden family and even how Saudi Arabia helped out to to make sure 911 happen. George W bush and Dick Cheney committed treason to our country and that's why the republicans have to stay out of the White House but even corporate as democrats to because Obama protected George W bush and Dick Cheney from their war crimes and that is adding and abetting and they just think they're above the law and do not have to obey the laws because they're more president's and worthless president's in the world a reality may be of Obama won after George W bush and Dick Cheney he might have a greater legacy but he nor have nothing of a legacy just the embarrassment of the most worthless president America ever had next to the most stupid as president we ever had. And after 2016 America has to improve itself to be number one in the nation again because with idiots from Ronald Reagan on up is presidents that destroyed America and brought it down to 37th in the world's rating of nations and that's not acceptable. Because a common people pay more taxes than the wealthy in this nation and the rich to slow that corporate welfare. They agreed in the stupidity hast the stop in no way is Donald trump and Hillary Clinton get in the White House because they're part of the establishment and both of them are crooked and they would take advantage of our nation for their benefit not the nation's benefit or the people's benefit they got their priorities all screwed up and they don't know what democracy is.

  4. You don't find many Texans with this kind of "really and truly great mind"! Thanks, Thom, for this interview.

  5. Listen to this man. We need to follow Bernie, turn our congress around, and get corporations out of politics. The Democratic Party, served us, until Bill Clinton got in office. He ruined everything.

  6. Mr. Hightower gave the introduction at the Bernie rally in Albuquerque last Friday night, which I attended. It was one of the most eloquent and relevant speeches have ever witnessed. He is great man with a great mind.

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