Jim Hightower’s Radio Lowdown

How the conquering Trump makes fakery real

All hail Augustus Trumpus! All hail the American Putin, whom none can criticize! All hail the All Knowing One, who […]

Why “Corporate Governance” is a fraud

Good news, people: All is well again at Wells Fargo! After the scandal of the giant bank systematically robbing its […]

The new founder

When you think of America’s great Constitutional originators, names like  Jefferson, Washington, and Franklin come to mind. And, of course, […]

Looking for older commentaries?

You’ll find them over on the Hightower Lowdown now, in the radio archives. Note: we post new episodes there on Tuesdays and Thursdays; however, some radio stations around the country air Hightower’s commentaries on their own schedule.

Takeaways from the election

Buckle-up friends, it’s going to be a hairy ride.

Start with Day One for President Trump (gotta get used to saying that). He will need to be up-and-at-’em no later than 12:01 am, for during his campaign he promised to get oodles of big stuff done on his very first day in office, including: “Repeal Obamacare;” Begin working on impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall;” Meet with Homeland security officials and generals to begin securing the Southern border; Fix the Department of Veterans Affairs; “Repeal every single Obama executive order;” Suspend Syrian refugee resettlement; “Get rid of gun-free zones in schools;” “End the war on coal;” “Defend the unborn;” “Start taking care of… our military;” And convene top generals and inform them they have 30 days to come up with a plan to stop ISIS.

Good grief! Americans have actually put a xenophobic-misogynous-racist-nativist-narcissistic blowhard in the Oval Office. Has our country gone right-wing? Or completely nuts?

No. Trump was not elected on issues, but on anger – a deep seething fury that the economic and political elite themselves have created by knocking down the working-class majority, then callously stepping over them as if they didn’t exist. Exit polls revealed that most Trump voters don’t think he’s any more honest than Hillary Clinton (only 38 percent of all voters had a favorable opinion of him, with only a third saying he was qualified to be president). Also, his own voters disagree with much of his agenda (especially his grandiose wall across the Mexican border).

But his core message – “The system is rigged” by and for the elites – came through loud and clear to them, so they grabbed him like a big Bois-D’arc stick to whap the whole establishment upside its collective head.

The major message from voters was, “We want change.” The Donald was the one most likely to shake things up (or blow things up), while Clinton clearly was the candidate of the status quo. As a West Texas farmer told me several years ago, “status quo” is Latin for “The mess we’re in,” so change voters, including those who would normally side with Democrats, cast their ballot for the Republican.

Indeed, on specific issues, voters around the country supported very progressive changes offered to them in a variety of ballot initiatives:

  • All four states that had minimum wage increases on the ballot passed them – Arizona (59 percent for it), Colorado (55 percent), Maine (55 percent), and Washington (60 percent). Plus, a South Dakota proposal to lower its minimum wage was rejected by 71 percent of voters.
  • Two states had initiatives calling for a constitutional amendment to repeal the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision that has allowed unlimited corporate cash to flood into our elections – California (53 percent for it) and Washington (64 percent “yes”). Also, 52 percent voted for campaign finance reform that will provide public funding of elections there.
  • A Minnesota initiative to take away the power of state lawmakers to set their own salaries, instead creating a bipartisan citizens council to consider any increases, won a whopping 77 percent approval.

In addition, many solidly-progressive “firsts” were elected on Tuesday, such as the first Indian-American woman in Congress (Pramila Jayapal of Washington), the first Latina US senator (Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada), first Indian-Black woman elected to US Senate (Kamala Harris of California), and first openly-LGBT governor (Kate Brown of Oregon), Stephanie Murphy (of Florida)is the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to Congress, Ilhan Omar (of Minnesota) is the first Somali-American Muslim woman elected to state legislature, and Sam Park (of Georgia) became the first openly gay state legislator there.

Trump is in the White House, but the takeaway from voters in this election is a mandate for progressive economic populism and more diversity among public officials.

#BlackLivesMatter

On police violence and #BlackLivesMatter

When people hear me talk about populism, some folks think I’m talking about the racist, xenophobic, angry things that get branded as populism. True populism is about bringing people up, not tearing them down. True populism is multiracial and transracial. The #BlackLivesMatter movement is about acknowledging the brutal, painful injustices our Black sisters and brothers have endured and are continuing to endure. When we talk about #BlackLivesMatter, some people hear that we don’t think “all” lives matter. Supporting #BlackLivesMatter, especially in the face of these killings by police officers, doesn’t mean that no one else matters. It means that we white people haven’t done justice by our brethren of color, and it’s time that we step up to the plate. All of us. Together.

Hightower’s statement on Brexit: This isn’t populism!

Yet again, the political and media establishment (excuse the redundancy) misconstrue “populism” as an ignorant and bigoted political fringe. The working-class people of Great Britain have every right to be upset and frustrated with their government: austerity and corporate cronyism, just as it has here in the US, has brought people to their knees. But with ‪#‎Brexit‬, they’ve been bamboozled into believing that their troubles lie with immigrants and EU fees, not with their own elite– the aloof bosses, bankers, big shots, bastards, and bullshitters who think they are the top dogs and the rest of us are fire hydrants. Want to understand what real populism is? Check out this introduction we’ve got over at the Hightower Lowdown:

All of these (and more) have added up to an enthronement of the rich and the normalization of inequity. They threaten to squeeze the life out of America’s core values of democracy, equality, and justice.

But there is a medicine to fight this disease, a powerful antidote deeply entwined with our nation’s history: populism—a political doctrine rooted in the rebellious spirit and commitment to the common good of ordinary, grassroots Americans. Time and again throughout our country’s history, populist rebellions have been sparked when ordinary folks were being run over by abusive concentrations of power. And so it is today: hundreds of thousands of Americans—young and old, white and black and brown—are again speaking up and standing against the armed robbery of the people’s rights and the grand theft of the American Dream. That is populism.

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Meet Jim Hightower.

Looking for photos and more of Hightower? Check out the media kit.

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and New York Times best-selling author, Jim Hightower has spent four decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top.

Hightower is a modern-day Johnny Appleseed, spreading the message of progressive populism all across the American grassroots.

He broadcasts daily radio commentaries that are carried in more than 150 commercial and public stations, on the web, and on Radio for Peace International.

Every month he pens a rousing newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, that blasts through the corporate media blockade to lend new reporting and populist perspective on the events of the day.

A popular public speaker who is fiery and funny, he is a populist road warrior who delivers more than 100 speeches a year to all kinds of groups.

He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.

Hightower frequently appears on television and radio programs, bringing a hard-hitting populist viewpoint that rarely gets into the mass media. In addition, he works closely with the alternative media, and in all of his work he keeps his ever-ready Texas humor up front, practicing the credo of an old Yugoslavian proverb: “You can fight the gods and still have fun.”

Hightower was raised in Denison, Texas, in a family of small business people, tenant farmers, and working folks. A graduate of the University of North Texas, he worked in Washington as legislative aide to Sen. Ralph Yarborough of Texas; he then co-founded the Agribusiness Accountability Project, a public interest project that focused on corporate power in the food economy; and he was national coordinator of the 1976 “Fred Harris for President” campaign. Hightower then returned to his home state, where he became editor of the feisty biweekly, The Texas Observer. He served as director of the Texas Consumer Association before running for statewide office and being elected to two terms as Texas Agriculture Commissioner (1983-1991).

During the 90’s, Hightower became known as “America’s most popular populist,” developing his radio commentaries, hosting two radio talk shows, writing books, launching his newsletter, giving fiery speeches coast to coast, and otherwise speaking out for the American majority that’s being locked out economically and politically by the elites.

As political columnist Molly Ivins said, “If Will Rogers and Mother Jones had a baby, Jim Hightower would be that rambunctious child — mad as hell, with a sense of humor.”

Books

Swim Against the Current (2008)
Thieves in High Places (2004)
Let's Stop Beating Around The Bush (2004)
The People Are Revolting! (In The Very Best Sense Of That Word) (2003)
If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates (2000)
There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos (1998)

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