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In-Depth Interview: Author and Historian Thomas Frank Comments on DNC/RNC Conventions and Populism

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In a wide-ranging and often amusing discussion, Thomas Frank comments on the Democratic and Republican Conventions and his new book, and says he’s done covering politics.Frank is the author of What’s the Matter With Kansas, The Wrecking Crew, and Listen, Liberal!  His new book is The People, NO: A Brief History of Anti-Populism.

Frank has been a frequent guest here on the PBC podcast.  In 2016, he joined us right after the conventions, and accepted my $5 wager that Trump would win.  Today, we recap the conventions, but neither of us is prepared to make a bet on the election outcome.  We talk about both conventions from many angles, and offer critical analysis of each candidate.  Frank notes that the Dems have stopped addressing the middle class.

He briefs us on the history of populism and anti-populism by America’s elites, who harbor fears of real democracy, and offers parallels to our current dilemmas.  We talk about the August 30 online convention of the People’s Party, and the limited prospects for launching a third party because of the substantial barriers imposed by the 2 major parties.

Frank shares his exasperation over the partisan divide today, and says he will not be writing about politics after this election, prompting your humble host to try to change his mind.