Columnist says ‘fake populism’ is costing the GOP votes

Although many observers had predicted a Republican “red wave” in this year’s midterm elections, the actual results were far less dramatic. As Fox News reported, the GOP won a narrow House majority and failed to take the Senate.

While some blame that outcome on former President Donald Trump or Republican opposition to abortion, one Federalist contributor says the real problem is much deeper. 

Columnist notes that many pro-Trump and pro-life candidates did well

In an article published on Monday, Joe Popularis acknowledged that “Trump did pick some terrible candidates” to endorse.

Yet he stressed that “establishment candidates performed poorly also” and “explicitly anti-Trump Republicans did worst of all.”

What’s more, Popularis pointed to how openly pro-life Republicans like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had great nights whereas the far more moderate Dr. Mehmet Oz went down to defeat.

According to the author, Republicans underperformed because “they have broadly rejected populism — which is what put Trump in the White House in 2016, not his personality.”

GOP accused of embracing “fake populism” without offering solutions

“Aside from candidates like [J.D.] Vance, much of the populism in the Republican Party today is performative, not real,” Popularis insisted.

“Candidates may be full of fire-breathing rhetoric, but when was the last time you heard a Republican candidate propose a plan for reforming, breaking up, or abolishing the FBI?” he asked. “Taking corruption out of government and reducing corporate influence? Fixing higher education? Or bringing jobs back?”

“Populism,” the writer argued, “is not being or acting like an outsider.” Rather, it involves confronting “protected interests and the oligarchy for the good of the many.”

“Performative (fake) populism without a policy framework allows the oligarchic Democrat Party to out-populist the Republicans,” he complained, pointing to Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman as an example.

Popularis concluded by complaining that the GOP seems intent on sticking with its traditional approach but dressed with a pseudo-populist veneer.

“It is devoid of specific policy proposals to confront the fears and concerns Americans face in the 21st century and to fix our deepest problems,” he lamented.