John Judis

John B. Judis is an editor at large at Talking Points Memo and the author of The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics.

Recent Articles

Round Midnight

A s Bill Clinton prepared to leave office and public attention swiveled toward the incoming administration, the outgoing president spent his last months in the Oval Office making recess appointments and issuing a flurry of new regulations and executive orders. Many of these have been in the works for years but were blocked by the Republican Congress. With very few exceptions, these orders and appointments represented the suppressed liberal aspirations of the Clinton administration. But will President George W. Bush sit by and allow such aspirations to be realized? He can't simply revoke the measures. As the Supreme Court ruled in 1983 when President Ronald Reagan tried to rescind a postelection auto safety regulation issued by Jimmy Carter, a new administration must go through the usual elaborate rulemaking procedures (with hearings and review) before revising regulations issued by the previous administration. But a new president can undermine new rules by staying their...

Sneak Preview

W ant to know how the Democrats will do in 2002--and whether President Bush will win re-election in 2004? For a reliable prediction, watch Virginia in the fall. The state's off-year elections have for the last three decades foreshadowed the political trends that shape American politics. This November's gubernatorial election will be a test of how solid the Republican South really is, and could provide a preview of the 2004 presidential contest. The race pits New Democrat Mark Warner against Republican Attorney General Mark Earley, a "compassionate conservative." One of the main issues will be whether Virginians have really benefited from the massive tax cut adopted by the last Republican administration. And the principal battleground for voter support will be the large swath of suburbia that stretches from northern Virginia down the coast to Norfolk and comprises about 60 percent of the electorate. Virginia was once the capital of the Confederacy, and for almost 100 years its mainly...

Coming Attractions

R epublican strategists have been quick to dismiss the significance of the Democratic victories during this November's elections. Republican pollster Whit Ayres declared that they "tell us almost nothing about the likely election outcomes a year from now." But the off-year gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia--held in the first year of a new president's term--usually tell us a great deal about where American politics is headed. For four decades, elections in New Jersey and Virginia have accurately registered changes in the relative national strength of the two major parties. In 1989, for instance, Democrats swept the two states, foreshadowing the Democrats' victories in 1992. In 1993 Republicans won both states, presaging the Republican triumph in the 1994 congressional elections. This year Republican candidates were supposed to benefit from George W. Bush's popularity after the September 11 terrorist attacks. But solid Democratic victories in both states may foretell...

Beyond McPopulism

Can Clinton Put People First?

T he populist movement lasted barely two decades, disappearing by the turn of the last century. Yet the movement's themes have continued to esonate in American politics. Politicians with sharply divergent agendas-- from Jimmy Carter and dRonald Reagan to Jack Kemp and Tom Harkin-- have evoked the legacy of populism. Bill Clinton called his campaign platform "Putting People First" and accepted the Democratic nomination "in the name of all those who do the work, pay the taxes, raise the kids and play by the rules." Once in office, he has continued to sound populist notes, warning that his economic program would take aim at the "privileged elite." Populist themes have persisted over the century because they mesh contemporary political concerns with the historic American dream of yeoman democracy. Populism was the first attempt to pose this Jeffersonian and Jacksonian vision of America against the encroaching reality of corporate, industrial, urban capitalism. As a political movement,...

K Street Gore

One important way to judge what a presidential candidate might do if elected is to look at his record while in office—his publicly announced positions and his skill in commanding loyalty, wielding authority, and winning public support. But it is also important to look at the networks of campaign contributors, lobbyists, political organizations, and policy groups that have surrounded him over the years and that might have some claim on his loyalty. Does anyone imagine, for instance, that if Texas Governor George W. Bush were elected president, he would ignore Ken Duberstein and the Duberstein Group, Frank Carlucci, James Baker, and Richard Darman of the Carlyle Group, Dick Cheney of Haliburton Oil, retired General Colin Powell, and the other former Bush administration officials turned lobbyists, CEOs, and investment bankers? What about Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic front-runner for 2000? Gore has many of the same connections that Bill Clinton did—to the Democratic Leadership...

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