Wednesday, August 15 , 2018, 11:55 pm | Fair 71º


Randy Alcorn: Voters Still Looking for Change They Can Believe In

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have made the usually tedious political season fascinating, and have rekindled hope for change people can believe in — something President Barack Obama promised but couldn’t deliver to the satisfaction of many Americans.

Whether either of these two guys, if elected president, could do any better is questionable.

Nevertheless, the very strength of their campaigns — Trump effectively winning the Republican Party nomination while Sanders coming out of left field nearly toppled the Democratic Party’s anointed candidate — is by itself evidence of change many voters believe in and want.

Hillary Clinton is the only establishment candidate left in the race, and about the only real change she offers as president is her gender. That may not be enough to slake voter’s thirst for change.

They tried that kind of change by electing the first black president. It appears that this time around many voters are looking for more substantial change than the novelty of the first female president.

Most observers understand that the stunning success of Trump and Sanders derives from widespread disaffection with a skewed economic system that favors the few while neglecting the many, and with disgust with a political system that not only does nothing about it but also is complicit in it.

People anxious about an economy in which the new normal is job insecurity, stagnant wages and multiple threats from America’s brand of rapacious corporate capitalism are drifting into hopelessness. They are angry about their declining economic status and their diminishing prospects.

While the political establishment squabbles over ideological distractions like who can use which restroom, be married or have birth control, most Americans have more urgent concerns. They don’t care so much about ideological or theological debates.

You can’t keep preaching trickle-down economics to a dwindling middle class, or God’s will to folks whose prayers go unanswered and expect them to keep the faith.

For these people the status quo is unacceptable. They want revolutionary change. Not the kind with pitchforks and guillotines — not yet anyway — but rather a repudiation of the current political-economic system that is making the American Dream more myth than reality.

That is why they will vote for an avowed democratic-socialist no matter how insistently that label is twisted to discredit him. That is why they will vote for a bragging, bloviating billionaire no matter how suspect his ethics and improbable his promises.

These angry, restless voters don’t care what the political intelligentsia says. They want sweeping change and these two guys embody that, if for no other reason than that neither is a creature of the established political order.

Both candidates are promising to rescue the beleaguered middle class, and have cleverly used the duopoly machinery to engineer their drives on Washington — Trump’s drive fueled mostly by his own finances, while Sanders’ is fueled by millions of small donors. Citizens United has failed the established order to put down these two popular insurrections.

But then, there is Hillary.

She is essentially the establishment’s mainstay — regardless of political party. Clinton’s positions and record on economic issues and foreign affairs are more like those of a moderate Republican than an aggressive-progressive Democrat.

One of the intriguing ironies of this surprising election cycle is that a growing number of Republicans are considering voting for Clinton rather than for Trump, while some disappointed Sanders supporters are pledging to vote for Trump rather than Clinton.

This faltering allegiance to political party and indifference to ideological imperatives indicate that voters are focused on what really matters the most to them — their personal economic well-being. Division among the body politic is less about political party or ideological beliefs than it is about the widening crevasse between those with more and more, and those with less and less.

The current voter uprising is against a political system controlled by the forces of greed that has captured government, in no small part by limiting candidates for public office to those approved by the established duopoly, which is the creature of those forces.

Both Trump and Sanders have shaken the established order by hijacking its creature, rallying angry voters and threatening the status quo. Either man winning the presidency would be a revolution in that it would confirm vast voter demand for deep change.

And while an establishment Congress could impede that change, it could not ignore the voters for long and survive ensuing elections.

For reasons that should be obvious to rational minds, Trump is unsuitable to be president. He has exhausted his usefulness for revolutionary change. He should be thanked for crippling one leg of the duopoly then sent back to his gilded tower.

For voters sincerely committed to instigating revolutionary change, Sanders is the only remaining viable candidate for president. But, his path to the nomination has been all but barricaded by the Democratic Party’s super-delegate skullduggery.

In a Clinton versus Trump contest, Clinton should win — if rational people are the majority of voters. However, Clinton is widely unpopular, an inveterate member of the entrenched economic elite, she is no revolutionary. Against Trump, Sanders is a stronger opponent than is Clinton.

If the Democratic Party establishment has underestimated the tide of voter anger, Trump is the next president. That troublesome outcome would be the final ironic twist in the squirming duopoly’s scheming to hold on to it all.

— Randy Alcorn is a Santa Barbara political observer. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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