Anti-establishment candidates rail against the government they seek to lead; populist groups like the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street howl about corruption in political and economic institutions; and wild conspiracy theories abound. Has American politics always been so crazy?
With political science professor Cornell Clayton, explore how American politics has become an arena for suspicious and angry minds. Rather than debunking today’s conspiratorial claims, Clayton argues that both populism and a paranoid thinking have always played important roles in American politics. From the fear of the Illuminati, to the Know-Nothing movement in the 1850s, to Father Charles Coughlin, Huey Long, and the John Birchers, there always have been leaders and groups who see politics in apocalyptic terms and believe powerful elites are conspiring against ordinary Americans. Clayton’s talk explains the rise of today’s populist and conspiratorial politics, draws parallels to earlier periods, and describes how populism on the left and right today differ.
- May 23, 2017
- South Hill Library
3324 S. Perry St. Spokane, WA 99203 United States
About Speakers Bureau Events
Speakers Bureau talks are free public presentations on history, politics, music, philosophy, and everything in between. Humanities Washington’s roster of presenters are professors, artists, activists, historians, performers, journalists, and others—all chosen not only for their expertise, but their ability to inspire discussion with people of all ages and backgrounds. All talks are free and open to the public, and each lasts about an hour. They are hosted through a wide range of organizations throughout Washington State.