WATCH: Famous Banjo Player Dismantles Nancy Pelosi In Brutal Debate Over Populism And Democracy
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 21: Winston Marshall of Mumford & Sons performs onstage during the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 21, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Former Mumford & Sons banjoist Winston Marshall delivered a brutal takedown of Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) argument claiming that populism was “a threat to democracy,” saying that the true threat to democracy was an elite ruling class that looked down on instead of working for regular people.

Pelosi spoke at Oxford Union in late April, arguing that “populism” was synonymous with “ethno-nationalism” and “isolationism” and so-called “populists” took advantage of the people once they reached positions of power. She went on to say that some Americans — “poor souls who are looking for some answers” — were reluctant to accept the answers Democrats provided because their views on “guns, gays, [and] God” distorted their perception.

Once she was finished, Marshall offered his take on the situation, and he began with a breakdown of the way Democrats had slowly changed the meaning of the word “populism” — from a positive when former President Barack Obama claimed it to a negative when they applied it to former President Donald Trump.


Marshall explained that as recently as 2016, Obama had vocally objected to Trump being called a populist, arguing that he did not care about working people and claiming the “populist” mantle for himself.

“If anything, Obama argued that he was the populist. If anything, Obama argued that Bernie was the populist,” he said. “Something curious happens. If you watch Obama’s speeches after that point, more and more recently, he uses the word ‘populist’ interchangeably with ‘strong man,’ ‘authoritarian.’ The word changes meaning. It becomes a negative, a pejorative, a slur.”

“Populism’ has become a word used synonymously with ‘racist.’ We’ve heard ‘ethno-nationalist,’ we have ‘bigot,’ we have ‘hillbilly,’ ‘redneck,’ we have ‘deplorable,’” Marshall said, noting that Pelosi had even called it “a threat to democracy” itself. “Elites use it to show their contempt for ordinary people.”

Marshall briefly mentioned the Capitol riot that took place on January 6, 2021, calling it a “dark day” in America’s history — but then he argued that there were other days that should be viewed through the same lens.

“I’m sure Congresswoman Pelosi will agree that the entire month of June 2020, when the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, was under siege and under insurrection by radical progressives, those, too, were dark days for America,” he said.

Pelosi objected then, raising her hand and asserting that there could be no comparison and claiming that Trump had incited an insurrection.

“My point, though, is that all political movements are susceptible to violence and, indeed, insurrection. Populism is not a threat to democracy. Populism is democracy. And why else have universal suffrage if not to keep elites in check?” Marshall said.

“Today, particularly in America, the globalist left have become the establishment,” he continued. “I suppose for Mrs. Pelosi to have taken this side of the argument, she’d be arguing herself out of a job.”

Pelosi interjected once more during Marshall’s speech to insist that the 2016 presidential election — which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost to Trump — had been “hijacked.”

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