Three strains of Republican populism

One brand of populism blends social conservatism with a more expansive view of government.

Mike Huckabee, the evangelical pastor-turned-politician, raised taxes and increased spending as governor of Arkansas. He routinely slams not only Wall Street but also economic conservatives. In his current bid for the White House, he’s attacked Republican efforts to reform entitlements and has portrayed himself as a guardian of Social Security and Medicare.

Rick Santorum is also staking out a similar space to Huckabee. Though, to be fair, he has a better record on taxes and fought for Social Security personal accounts. As senator he ultimately embraced George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservative” agenda — voting for the Medicare prescription drug program and No Child Left Behind. Though he’s since called those votes a mistake, even recently, he’s come out in favor of increasing the minimum wage.

Also fitting into this group, should he run, is Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has framed his support for expanding Medicaid through Obamacare as an expression of his Christianity.