Anger at the rul­ing class is real

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OPINION - Jerry Shenk is a Le­banon County-based colum­nist whose work is fea­tured at­town­ You can email him at

Amer­ica’s par­ties share those short­com­ings. For decades, big-gov­ern­ment Democrats and Repub­li­cans have been ca­reer of­fice­hold­ers, po­lit­i­cal bro­kers, fi­nanciers, news fil­ters, bu­reau­crats and/ or deal mak­ers. Their com­mon his­tory has cre­ated a “fu­sion party” — a bi­par­ti­san rul­ing class, hide­bound, ob­sti­nate, pre­dictable, ut­terly self­in­ter­ested and de­tached from the reg­u­lar peo­ple they gov­ern but don’t know or un­der­stand. Amer­ica’s rul­ing class lives in a self-in­vented bub­ble clouded by a blind­ing, ar­ro­gance-in­duced fog.

They lack self-aware­ness and the skills to iden­tify both their prob­lems and prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions. Bub­ble-dwellers over­rate their com­pe­ten­cies and act on time­worn prac­tices that cre­ate prob­lems rather than pro­vide so­lu­tions. Po­lit­i­cal bub­ble-dwellers of­ten will­fully-by­pass promis­ing so­lu­tions, e.g., reg­u­la­tory and tax re­form/sim­pli­fi­ca­tion, to pre­serve their power, perks and op­por­tu­ni­ties for graft.

Such be­hav­iors may be ex­plained as hu­man na­ture, but they have weak­ened pub­lic trust in the par­ties, polls and elec­toral math. 2016 has been es­pe­cially trou­ble­some.

Ac­cord­ing to David Gold­man, “the de­ci­sive is­sue of the 2016 cam­paign was the cor­rupt machi­na­tions of a rul­ing elite that con­sid­ers it­self above the law, and the rage of the Amer­i­can peo­ple against the oli­garchi­cal rul­ing class that has pulled the lad­der up be­hind it.”

In leaked emails, the Depart­ment of Jus­tice, in­clud­ing the FBI, the White House, the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee, na­tional me­dia and Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cam­paign were re­vealed to be co­con­spir­a­tors in white­wash­ing the can­di­date’s felonies, sup­press­ing news of her law­less­ness, stack­ing the deck against Bernie San­ders, un­eth­i­cal cam­paign col­lu­sion and, dur­ing the pri­mary sea­son, pro­mot­ing the only Repub­li­can op­po­nent Clin­ton was con­fi­dent of de­feat­ing.

The Fed­er­al­ist’s Ben Domenech on Don­ald Trump: “The key to un­der­stand­ing the …Trump phe­nom­e­non is to rec­og­nize that he is nei­ther a dis­ease nor a symp­tom — he is … the beta-test of a cure. He rep­re­sents … a break­down that has been hap­pen­ing in slow mo­tion for the past two decades, fu­eled by a dra­matic de­cline of trust in Amer­ica’s elites.

“The per­cent­age of Amer­i­cans with a great deal of trust in the pres­i­dency, the courts, pub­lic schools, and banks are in the teens. Trust for unions, the jus­tice sys­tem, big busi­ness, Congress and the me­dia are in sin­gle dig­its.”

Pub­lic dis­trust of the po­lit­i­cal class is well-de­served. Rather than find­ing so­lu­tions to cit­i­zens’ le­git­i­mate con­cerns, gov­ern­ing elites over­promise and un­der-de­liver. In ef­fect, elite in­dif­fer­ence to pub­lic dis­sat­is­fac­tion and the eco­nomic ad­ver­sity that many Amer­i­cans still suf­fer nom­i­nated out­sider Don­ald Trump.

Trump is a metaphor­i­cal poke in the eye to the po­lit­i­cal class; po­lit­i­cal fix­ture Hil­lary Clin­ton is its eye, but, through col­lu­sion and cor­rup­tion, she hasn’t been dis­qual­i­fied. Un­der those cir­cum­stances, as pres­i­dent, Clin­ton will be con­sid­ered il­le­git­i­mate by more than half of Amer­i­cans.

Amer­ica’s anger is real. It’s not go­ing away. An­other Clin­ton pres­i­dency will only fuel it. Un­til it is re­formed or re­placed to ad­dress Amer­i­cans’ jus­ti­fied out­rage, Amer­ica’s rul­ing class will re­main a na­tional men­ace.

“The three things pro­gres­sives com­monly dis­re­gard in pur­suit of their pol­icy pref­er­ences are the ones which ar­gue most per­sua­sively against them: His­tory, hu­man na­ture and math.” — Jerry Shenk, 2014

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