Monday, December 28, 2015

The Revolt of the Bubbas

I "borrowed" this title from José Ortega y Gasset's book Revolt of the Masses. It seems to me that there is an often-overlooked factor that is becoming increasingly evident in American politics: the mounting disaffection for the usual type of politician favored by the major political parties. Presently, Donald  Trump is leading in polls for the Republican nomination; and Hillary Clinton is challenged by Bernie Sanders for the Democratic one. I don't know what will transpire when the primaries come on, but Jeb Bush is losing ground and other possible establishment candidates were less than inspirational.

As for Hillary, a common sentiment is, "In order for me to vote Democratic, must I vote for her?"

It seems to me that there has always been a strong Populist sentiment in our collective American DNA. While this is less evident at some times, on other occasions it might rear its scary head, at least as perceived by the Eastern elitists. Andrew Jackson rode into the White House on a strong populist platform; and this movement returned in the 1890's and early 1900's. While the Populists did not elect a President, they managed to influence laws reining in trusts, having pure food and drugs, ending the more severe abuses in child labor, controlling sexual exploitation, and eventually the forty-hour week. 

Populism in those earlier manifestations stood for the little guy, for local government by consent rather than from above, and for resisting pressure from outside powerful others. Nowadays these outside sources of pressure are reified in the form of big business, the Eastern Establishment, the liberal academic elite, the mainstream media, and the preening popinjays of Hollywood. Not to mention Main Street!

I'll have to admit that they annoy me sometimes too.

But the people that are most disaffected are the working stiffs, particularly the ones who are just getting by. These are the same ones that feel threatened or put upon by this cabal of busybodies. They see the major parties as the tools of these elites and special interest groups when many of them see themselves as unrepresented. Because of this, they are open to the allure of the outsider with simplistic solutions.

Despite what political parties say, both are open to seeking blocs of votes that they can reliably count on. In some ways, this makes their job of pleasing the electorate easier: please a part of them. Make them a special interest group that they service! On the other hand, these groups have to be given some reasons for their continued support. In that way, both parties must cater to the groups they already have in the fold.

The Bubbas are often scorned by people considering themselves to be elite. Despite the Trumpees, they're not necessarily reactionary or racist; but they seemed to feel shut out of the American Dream and into the American Just Getting By. The fact is, their job security is very thin.

In short, there are a lot of people out there that felt that their concerns and problems were not taken into account, and some of them are scared. Rightly so. They might be prone to accept nostrums or pat solutions.


TexWisGirl said...

i think you're right. folks are just looking for something 'different' from the political establishment.

Linda Kay said...

Great post, Angel...we always have to listen to the political mumbo jumbo and can't see the truth among the words that are spoken. And then the promises never materialize. Where I live in Texas the need among people to get back to the basics seems to really run high. Big government and big business are leaving a sour taste here in conservative country. Most would like to anyone who can speak what's on the minds of those who are frustrated with controls. Have a really special week. The next few months will be interesting, for sure.

Mike said...

They way our voting system is set up, if you don't vote democrat or republican you are throwing your vote away. There are other systems that would allow a run off type of election that could bring some of the newer parties into play.

Duckbutt said...

They are coming to recognize that the major parties did not act in their best interests, either historically or presently. But some of the solutions that are being offered are extralegal and dangerous.

allenwoodhaven said...

Interesting analysis. I agree that the pool of disaffected Americans is large, but I question how much electoral power they'll have in the actual election. I guess I want to think that voters will come to their senses at the last moment and not vote for someone like Trump. Average citizens certainly need protection from Corporations, Banks, and their ilk.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

You made a good analysis of their predicament. Somehow, many of those show lower participations in registering to vote and actually coming out.

Bilbo said...

Very good post. And you have summed up my views on Ms Clinton quite well. Blog on!!

John Hill said...

Good post, Angel!