News & Politics

'The Opposite of Populism': Paul Krugman Argues that Trump's Supreme Court Pick Is One of His Biggest Betrayals of Workers Yet

Brett Kavanaugh is a thoroughgoing Republican — and that's not good for Trump's base.

Photo Credit: Moyers and Company

President Donald Trump was hailed by some during the 2016 campaign and after as a "populist" candidate — but anyone actually paying attention could see that as a ruse.

Now that he's been in office for about a year and a half, it's clearer than ever that he's mostly governing as any other Republican would, and he's betraying those supporters who believed he really would be a voice for the people.

Paul Krugman pointed out in a New York Times column Monday that Trump's pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, is yet another massive betrayal of American workers.


"Kavanaugh is, to put it bluntly, an anti-worker radical, opposed to every effort to protect working families from fraud and mistreatment," Krugman writes. "The most spectacular example is his opinion that Sea World owed no liability for a killer whale attack that killed one of its workers, because she should have known the risks."

He also notes that Kavanaugh believes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is meant to keep large banks and other financial entities from defrauding customers, is unconstitutional. And — like any other figure from the ideological trenches of the old-school Republican Party — he's fervently anti-union.

"This is all, by the way, the opposite of populism," Krugman said.

Krugman argued that the party has been successful so far in using the specters of unfair trade practices and immigration to scare the base into supporting GOP candidates — but it's really the power of big business that is keeping the workers down.

What remains is the question of how much longer Republican voters can be convinced to support a president and a party who are largely hostile to their basic economic interests. 

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.