No one had a bigger impact on the development of my political views than did Russell Kirk, whom I never had the privilege of meeting, but whose written work had a profound impact on my thinking. (Of course, Michael Novak and John Paul II rank pretty high on the list as well.)
Back in 2010, I quoted Kirk on populism:
Populism is a revolt against the Smart Guys. I am very ready to confess that the present Smart Guys, as represented by the dominant mentality of the Academy and of what the Bergers call the Knowledge Class today, are insufficiently endowed with right reason and moral imagination. But it would not be an improvement to supplant them by persons of thoroughgoing ignorance and incompetence.
For obvious reasons, watching this political season has prompted me to spend a lot of time thinking about populism. It seems to me that today's Smart Guys--on both sides of the aisle--are far worse than the predecessors about whom Kirk wrote back in 1988. These days "ignorance and incompetence" might be an improvement.