The election in November has morphed into something beyond a typical election. This election is no longer about Democrats verses Republicans, or conservatives verses liberals; it has turned into a battle of the ruling elite verses the people.
We hear a lot of talk about an anti-incumbent mood in the country, and that is part of what’s going on, but by no means all of it. There is something much more profound and fundamental taking place.
The first indication was the tea partiers.
I have attended a couple of tea party rallies, and several aspects of them struck me as highly unusual in the world of assemblies of the citizens.
One thing that especially got my attention was the large number of people at these events who said something to the effect of, “I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve never gone to a public rally or spoken out before, but now I feel compelled to do so.” This is very significant; people who have never before been involved are now actively speaking out, and in large numbers. They feel that the country is heading in the wrong direction, that Washington isn’t listening, and that things are so dire that they cannot remain silent.
There have been many tea party rallies and others that are similar throughout the country, some small and some attracting hundreds of thousands of people. The response from the ruling class has been disdain and arrogance. Members of the ruling class on the Democrat side denigrated the tea partiers, calling them Astroturf, hatemongers, Nazis, etc. Then the ruling class went about its business as usual. Nothing in Washington changed.
The next development was the elections last November in which governors in Virginia and New Jersey were elected after campaigning on the need for a bold new direction in those states. And they didn’t just win, they won big. Governor McDonnell received more votes than any candidate for governor in Virginia ever. The ruling class started to get miffed because their candidates were not being elected.
Then a special election was held in Massachusetts to fill the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy. The unthinkable happened. An unknown by the name of Scott Brown defeated the ruling class’s anointed candidate.
After that came the primary election season, and the populist eruptions were everywhere. Sharon Angle won the Republican primary in Nevada over the party insider who was supported by the establishment. The ruling class turned on Ms. Angle and started ridiculing her. In the general election, she is now running against that paragon of the ruling class, Harry Reid, and polls show the race tied. Still the ruling class has not forgiven her.
There were similar results in South Carolina (Nikki Haley) and Florida (Marco Rubio) where political newcomers defeated party establishment types in a primary election.
In Alaska, it became even more pronounced. Another unknown and political neophyte, Joe Miller, won the Republican primary against a sitting U. S. Senator who, in true ruling class fashion, was appointed to the position by her father, the governor at the time, to fill a vacancy. The ruling class had a fit.
Then in Delaware, the earth moved. Christine O’Donnell, a person who to say was an atypical candidate is an understatement, defeated yet another ruling class crowned prince in the senate primary election on the Republican side. Now the political elites became truly outraged. How dare these commoners reject their directions on who should be the nominee! Who do they think they are? Republican Great High Exalted PoohBah Karl Rove threw a hissy fit on national TV. Pundit extraordinaire Charles Krauthammer pontificated on how stupid the people were being because they didn’t do what he thought they should in the primary. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (the group that tries to get Republicans elected to the U.S. Senate) said they would not support Ms. O’Donnell (and then quickly reversed course and said they would). The various courtiers in the ruling class started yelping about how she was unelectable, fatally flawed, had never accomplished anything, blah, blah, blah.
And now here we are today with about six weeks until election day, and the ruling class still doesn’t get it. After eighteen months of messages being delivered in a variety of manners and in no uncertain terms, they have gone into denial or self-protection mode or adopted an attitude of “let them eat cake”.
It has truly become the people verses the ruling class. Continuing with their elitist ruling class entitlement mentality will have severe consequences for both the Democrats and the Republicans.
Since the Democrats are currently in power in Washington, they risk losing control of Congress and then losing the Presidency.
For the Republicans, the danger of ignoring this movement of the people is more insidious. If the Republican party establishment pays lip service to the peoples’ candidates, or out rightly opposes them, they risk further alienating the people to the point that there may well be a third party formed. If, on the other hand, the party establishment gets behind the peoples’ candidates and they get elected, it will mean the Republicans will have to be ready to take on a new identity and adopt a new mode of governance. Are they willing and able to do that?
Sept. 20, 2010