Populist Uprising or Conservative Revival?

Steve Moore, economic advisor to President-Elect Donald Trump told a DC-newspaper, The Hill, and the Republican leadership; "Just as Reagan converted the GOP into a conservative party, Trump has converted the GOP into a populist working-class party." (The HILL, Jonathan Swan, 11/23/2016)

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a Populist is, "a member of a political party claiming to represent the common people." The opposite of populist is elitist. We don't think Mr. Moore was calling President Reagan an elitist, so what was he saying? What does "populism" mean when it gets translated into economic policy?

We would rather ignore all this political stuff, but government has become so large and intrusive that its decisions make a huge difference for the economy and investors. Our constituents are investors, so we think it is important to answer this question. After all, Mr. Moore is a key economic advisor to the new President.

Having lived in the Midwest since the 1970s we've seen up close the Rust Belt's economic troubles that Trump tapped into throughout his campaign. Now, so has Donald Trump, who tapped into that pain. He resonated so much with these voters that he won Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. Moore said that traveling the Rust Belt states with the Trump campaign "altered his politics."

"It turned me more into a populist," he said, expressing frustration with the way some in the Beltway media dismissed the economic concerns of voters in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. "Having spent the last three or four months on the campaign trail, it opens your eyes to the everyday anxieties and financial stress people are facing," Moore added. "I'm pro-immigration and pro-trade, but we better make sure as we pursue these policies we're not creating economic undertow in these areas." (The HILL, Jonathan Swan, 11/23/2016)

After reading this we wonder why it takes traveling in the Midwest to understand this. Is the rest of the country that out of touch? Have they simply ignored the economic data? Incomes in the Midwest have been growing slowly, Detroit went bankrupt, blue collar jobs have suffered in the region, and population growth has slowed.