Throughout history there have been multiple politicians that have either governed based on hatred, or that have committed despicable and controversial actions according to a majority of Americans. Many of these politicians include George W. Bush and his preemptive attack to Iraq, based on the groundless fact that this nation had WMD, and George Wallace, on his pro-segregationist politics. Meanwhile, there have also been multiple other politicians that have, perhaps not exactly governed based on hatred, but rather promoted such. According to the Britannica Dictionary, the definition of populism is, “an ideology or political movement that mobilizes the population against an institution or government, usually the elite.” Currently, the United States has a president known for being a notorious populist, as seen mainly in his speeches, were he mostly appeals to the ignorant, close-minded masses. Donald Trump, however, is not a populist because he desires to oppose to elitist ideas, but mostly because of the kinds people that are pro his ideologies. Senator Joe McCarthy is another disreputable American politician from the 1950s that also used populistic approaches within his politics against Communism. Therefore, Donald Trump can be somewhat considered a modern day McCarthy given that both McCarthy and him used, and currently use populism as a way to create controversy towards a philosophy, or a certain group of people.
Viewing both President Trump and ex-Senator McCarthy as populists can be slightly controversial, yet true. Initially, though Joe McCarthy can be perceived as an anti-populist, given that one can consider his infamous list of 57 “spies” during the Eisenhower administration to have sought for measures by the elite, what he actually did was “mobilize an anti-elite sentiment, doing so in a populist imagery- but instead of targeting Wall Street, ‘The Octupus,’ or the Jews, it was The Communist.” (Bell, 1983) One must acknowledge that, in this case, the uneducated masses also included the government itself, as these were ignorants towards the management of Communism, and capable of believing his “list.” Furthermore, it is of no surprise that President Donald Trump is also a populist, yet, this is debatable as well, given that he does not pursue controversy towards the privileged. On the other hand, he does look for the support of the ignorants and those that have a box-like mind by using a concise, straightforward language, and stereotypical twentieth century ideas, which can be mostly grasped on how he mentions Mexicans and their role in The United States. Both McCarthy and Trump promoted racism or discrimination toward a group of people using populism, and while McCarthy did so with the Communists, Trump did so with the Mexicans, Muslims, and other smaller minorities which he apparently does not desire to gain the support of.
After achieving certain opposition regarding these minorities, they also take into action various measures to ensure the discrimination or mistreatment of these. McCarthy for instance, promoted a series of legislations in the internal security act of 1950, in which he proposed a penalty for violations of security regulations and orders in the 50 U.S. Code 797, aimed mainly to whomever opposed controversy towards current governmental measures, or communists. Meanwhile, Trump is conducting a series of regulations as well, that promote the accusation of Mexicans. One of these regulations include the increase in border security and the reevaluation of visas. These measures by President Trump don’t necessarily have to be visualized as accusative, however, there was great emphasis in his political campaign placed upon the Mexicans, and there still is, in his administration, great emphasis toward this minority as well.
McCarthy’s discriminative feelings concerning communists can now a days compare to Trump’s feelings against other minorities: Mexicans, and Muslims; though it is inconclusive to state whether the United States’ current president is rebuilding the society of a 1950s America, he is indeed reminding this population what it feels to once again blame minorities and victimize the mainstream.