In 1968, it was said there was a “silent majority” of voters.
In 1994, there were news stories describing an “angry majority”
of voters. In 2015, the voters are not just angry, they are “furious.”
No more proof than the early success of the presidential
campaigns of Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie
Sanders should be needed, but there’s more evidence. In at least
one major poll, conservative physician Ben Carson is in second
place. Neither Trump nor Carson have ever been elected to
office. And there’s more. Businesswoman Carly Fiorina is doing
well, and Vice President Joe Biden, hitherto not taken seriously
as a 2016 presidential candidate, is being widely urged to run.
Although she has said she won’t run, Senator Elizabeth Warren
clearly has very significant support in the liberal grass roots.
Only Biden in this group would be classified as “establishment,”
and he probably won’t run because the Democratic Party elites
still prefer the “sinking” Hillary Clinton and are pushing him out
of the way. Jeb Bush, the early GOP frontrunner, and clearly the
establishment candidate, is fading in the polls despite his name
recognition and huge amounts of money raised for his campaign.
Why is this all happening?
American voters are perennially unhappy with politicians, so why
is the current “fury” to be taken more seriously than the “silence”
or the “anger” in previous presidential elections?
The answer is the result of a number of circumstances, but most
notably the chronic failure of current government to restore
general economic well-being and confidence, the apparent
“dishonesty” of most political rhetoric, the persistent and
increasing lack oftransparency in the conduct and management
of government bureaucracy, and voters’ growing insecurity about
the nation’s role in the world. These are taking place with elected
and appointed officials of both parties, and there is very little
evidence that much is being done about it.
It is being exacerbated by the Obama administration’s cavalier
attitude to problems arising from undocumented immigration,
its unilateral withdrawal from the U.S. role of leadership in the
world, and by the uneven domestic economic recovery.
This has given Republicans a temporary advantage, but should
they win in 2016 and fail to produce visible gains, the advantage
will shift right back to the Democrats.
Not only are the left and the right “furious” with Washington, DC,
so is the unheralded but vital political center, the key element in
deciding who wins the White House in 2016. (Historically, populists
in the U.S. came from the far right or the far left, but recently,
“centrist populist” such as Jesse Ventura and Ross Perot have arisen
to disrupt American elections.)
The establishments of both parties would like the Trump, Carson,
Sanders and the Fiorina to go away, and almost certainly they will
try to make this happen only by discrediting the candidates. I think
this is a huge political miscalculation. I think it will infuriate voters
The resolution of the political “disruption” can only happen if the
“establishment” candidates begin paying attention to what is truly
My high school motto (McDowell High School in Erie, PA) was
“Factum Non Verbum” (“The Deed Not The Word”). I did not forget it.
When a Latin phrase endures for so long, it would be only a matter
of time when it made lots of sense one more time.
Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.