August 27th, 2015 // 10:00 am @ Oliver DeMille
The Questions of Today
The professional political and media class is surprised (“shocked” may be more accurate) by what they are witnessing right now in the U.S. presidential campaign. Most of their predictions are turning out to be wrong, and much of their commentary is consistently off.
What is going on? And why is it happening?
The answer is fascinating. America is currently witnessing a different kind of politics–not because Washington has changed, but rather because the voters are taking a very different approach than they have in the past.
In a nutshell: a huge number of voters are simply demanding that politicians do something very different. This can be summed up in the following words, spoken directly to our politicians:
“Why won’t you just do what you said you’d do?”
Lies from the Left
This is a big deal. Voters are frustrated with the inability (or unwillingness) of politicians to simply deliver on their promises. For example, President Obama promised that under his health care law, we would be able to keep our doctor if we wanted to. We would also be able to keep the same health care providers. And our costs wouldn’t go up very much, if at all.
These all turned out to be false. Many people aren’t allowed to keep their same doctor or health care providers. And in 2015 insurance premiums went up around 30% for many companies and families—in addition to major increases already in 2014. With the additional details that kick in during 2016, premiums will go much higher in the next two years.
The President also promised that his policies would bring more jobs. But the reality is that while the unemployment rate has gone down, the large majority of people with new jobs obtained during the Obama era are making a lot less each month than they did before. The promise of more jobs turned out to be technically true, but it feels totally false, like something only a lawyer or a genie could make up.
Lies from the Right
And Republicans haven’t done any better. Voters were promised that if they elected Republicans in 2012 and 2014, these Congressmen would repeal Obamacare and seriously tackle the national debt. The electorate responded by putting Republicans into Congress in record numbers—in both of these midterm elections.
But once in office, the GOP promises were promptly forgotten. No repeal. No debt reduction. Voters know that Congress can defund programs at will, and can even overcome a veto by shutting down non-essential government functions to get a handle on the debt and/or defund Obamacare. This takes tenacity and guts, but it works.
Instead, voters who put Republicans into the majority in both houses are lectured by Boehner and McConnell about what “can and can’t” be done. But Boehner, McConnell and their allies didn’t do the honorable thing and loudly promote such lectures before the elections. Rather, they boldly promised big changes and then smugly turned their backs on such promises once elected. Ted Cruz was right to call this a “lie.” Voters feel increasingly duped by the political class.
The top leaders in both parties simply didn’t follow through on what they said they would do.
Just Do What You Promised
All of this is front and center in the voters’ minds right now. They don’t want to elect politicians, because they don’t believe what politicians promise. Why should they? Both parties have failed, repeatedly, to fulfill their promises. Most people have reached the conclusion that this is just the way politicians are now. They don’t do what they promise.
In voter logic, the only intelligent response is to elect non-politicians. To reject politicians and find people who will just do what they say they’ll do. To find someone—anyone—who simply tells the truth and then does it.
Thus anyone who looks even remotely like a politician is suspect. For a growing number of voters, everything a politician-looking candidate says during the campaign is probably not going to happen after the election.
So any candidate that seems to fit this bill, doesn’t get much support. This is a real problem for Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, etc. It’s also a problem for anti-establishment candidates like constitutionalist Rand Paul and tea partier Marco Rubio—they just seem too much like Washington insiders.
The candidates who are surprising the political pros are those who don’t seem much like politicians at all. Thus very different-sounding candidates like Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz have piqued the electorate’s interest.
“Will one of them just do what he/she is promising?” This is the question many American voters are asking right now.
The Media vs. The Electorate
The media focuses on things like policy details, tone, offensive behavior, and stances on the issues—but most voters don’t care much about these things as much as electing someone who will do what they said they’d do. They’re used to candidates who are politically correct, talk a lot about policy positions, but then get elected and fail to deliver what they promised.
With such a track record, why should voters care about policy plans? They’re going to be forgotten anyway.
Instead, voters are now trying to feel out the candidates, hoping that one of them is the kind of person who will actually just do what he/she promised—even after the election.
If voters think they’ve found such a person, they don’t even have to agree with him/her on every policy. They’ll look past differences, if they can just get someone who will deliver.
Media and political professionals who don’t figure this out are in for a lot more shocking surprises, because the last two decades of hearing promises during campaigns, getting excited to vote based on such promises, and then seeing your chosen candidate get elected but fail to do what he promised.… Well, voters are just plain sick of it.
Voters are too smart now. They’ve been fooled too many times in recent elections.
If they don’t think any of the candidates will follow through on promises, voters will turn off and stay home on election day. As a result, the typical establishment candidates will win. But if voters really believe that a candidate will deliver—he or she is going to ignite a powerful following.