Does Anger Rule the 2016 Presidential Election?
Does anger rule the 2016 Presidential election? Yes indeed it does. Recently, the media has been referring to anger in politics but as usual they completely miss the point. The feckless elite media is focusing on the anger of politicians not the anger of voters. It has been obvious from jump street that a tsunami of anger is driving the voters regarding the 2016 election. The reason anger rules is because of what Citizens United has done to politics. The anger created by Citizens United in combination with the rapidly declining number of jobs and earning power of the middle-class has ignited voter anger with the power of rocket fuel. In understanding today’s politics, it is helpful to look back and identify what emotion primarily motivated voters in recent elections. For example, it is easy to identify fear for the security of the US as the primary reason why Bush won re-election in 2004. The attack on 9/11 left many afraid and thereby reluctant for a regime change. In 2008, a good case can be made that fear of the economy continuing to fail was even more of a force in that election than anger over Bush’s disastrous Iraq War. Digging a little deeper, the way the Republican Party and their media outlets have for a long time manipulated voters is by primarily leveraging greed and fear. When manipulating voters it is best to keep anger simmering but the use of greed and fear is the money play for voter manipulation. When voters react to their own greed and fear it typically leads to predictable outcomes. Pushing the anger button too hard and long, is way too much of a wild card play when trying to control behavior.
The existence of Citizens United is the reason outsider types like Trump, Carson and Fiorina are leading in the Republican pols. This is certainly not the behavior the power elite of the GOP wanted from their voters. It is ironic because Citizens United was created by Republicans to counter the burgeoning influence of small donations made by Democrats. The unexpected byproduct of Citizens United is that middle-class GOP voters are feeling relatively impotent as part of the body politic. This has really really ticked them off. The reason for this is that Citizens United created billionaire kingmakers like the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson. Republican middle-class voters get what happens when billionaires control candidates. They understand that when middle-class needs and wants conflict with 1% needs and wants, the vast majority of the time they lose.
History teaches us that all revolutions need the support of the middle-class to succeed. Presidential elections are nothing but bloodless coups. The history of US elections shows that very often when our country has been really angered by politicians, people that normally do not vote, step up and vote. There are many examples of how anger has changed the political tides. The seemingly entrenched LBJ was kicked out because of how he handled Vietnam. Carter beat Ford in good part because of anger over pardoning Nixon.
Carter lost because of anger over how he handled the Iran hostage crisis. George HW Bush lied about raising taxes and so he only lasted for a single term. The anger over Dubya’s eight disastrous years as president was voluminous and key to Obama winning. Turning to the present, the candidate that best deals with voter anger especially from the middle-class will win the 2016 presidential election. If you want to understand the ebb and flow of the current presidential nominating process, you need to understand how anger affects people. Anger puts us on a fast track to taking action. It typically clouds good judgment but at times can also bring clarity out of apathy and confusion. More often than not anger leads to impulsive self-destructive behavior. A strong case can be made that anger has brought clarity for those that support Bernie and that Trump supporters are in self-destructive mode. To understand this coming election take a personal inventory about how many times you made a good or bad decision while angry.
When a typical voter contemplates whom to vote for, just thinking about our dysfunctional government is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Positions and policy proposals that don’t effectively address this anger are a waste of time as far as gathering votes go. At present, Bernie and Trump are drawing big enthusiastic crowds. The rest of the candidates are not. This is because they are doing a very good job of addressing voter anger.
Whether Bernie or Trump can win the nomination of the two major parties is far from decided. However, of the nominated candidates, whoever learns how to best address this anger and is most believable in how to fix what is causing this anger, is very likely going to be our next president.