The media, both “lamestream” and proprietary, have it wrong when they use the term “anti-incumbent fervor.” The words aren’t specific enough to properly convey the mindset of a large proportion of this year’s voters.
The ire directed at current officeholders is really more of a resentment that there seems to be an entitled class of rulers, of beltway-savvy elites who don’t connect with the fears and aspirations of your average Wal-Mart shopper. The anger at government is about the distance that has grown between it and the people from whom it used to derive its legitimacy, before it fell into the clutches of special interests and individual self-interest.
The Democrats think they’re onto something by highlighting the zany comments of some of the wilder right-wing candidates as way of slapping lethargic voters upside the head.
This strategy could well backfire. Average Americans⎯upon hearing that someone dabbled in witchcraft, doesn’t believe in evolution, or thinks that government shouldn’t be telling a private business owner that he is required to allow minorities into his store⎯may respond by saying, “Yeah, by golly! I can identify with that!”
Best to ride it out. Let the nation have its convulsion at the polls, then sit back and enjoy the show. You think these candidates look clumsy on the stump? Wait until they galumph into the halls of congress, and are forced to confront the intricate, exhausting, inglorious and unlovely process of actually trying to run a government.
Who knows? They might even take a cue from one of their greatest avatars, throw up their hands and quit in the middle of their terms.