— Benjamin Freed (@brfreed) April 26, 2016
Jim VandeHei, co-founder & former CEO of Politico, is very disappointed by the current Presidential choices on offer. And rather than use his own outlet, he turned to the (very sympathetic) Wall Street Journal to publish a sterling exemplar of why modern American “centrism” always seems to reduce to white men of means having a temper tantrum about no longer getting first place at the head of the table by right. Try Googling the title for a whole range of reactions to “Bring on A Third Party Candidate”:
I have spent the past two decades in the Washington, D.C., bubble—the heart of Establishment America—covering politics and building a company, Politico, focused solely on politics. But I’ve also spent a lot of time in my hometown of Oshkosh, Wis., and my adopted hometown of Lincoln, Maine, two blue-collar towns in the heart of Normal America.
Here are my two big takeaways: Normal America is right that Establishment America has grown fat, lazy, conventional and deserving of radical disruption. And the best, perhaps only way to disrupt the establishment is by stealing a lot of Donald Trump’s and Bernie Sanders’s tricks and electing a third-party candidate.
Mr. Trump’s vulgar approach to politics is a terrific middle finger to the establishment but a terrible political and governing paradigm. Same goes for Sanders-style socialism. But if someone turned the critique, passion and disdain shared by the two movements into a new one, they could change the system in meaningful ways. Only an outside force can knock Washington out of its governing rut—and the presidency is the only place with the power to do it…
The candidate has to come from outside the political system. Voters are beaten down or bubbling with anger. They watched as the two parties chose selfish spats and rarely dared to do the right thing, or hard things or often anything. Mr. Trump has shown they want a true outsider, even a deeply flawed one. The way to win is to rail against Big—Big Business, Big Media, Big Government, Big Establishment…
…[F]orce the wealthy to forfeit their entitlement benefits. And everyone loves socking it to Congress. Mandate that lawmakers go home after serving instead of profiting off their service. Also force them to get outside of the D.C. bubble by holding months-long sessions in different sections of Normal America.
The ideal candidate would write a very specific agenda in normal, conversational language, not whatever nonsensical language today’s political class was taught to speak. He or she would engage voters daily on social media, with fun and flare. (Think Trump with impulse control and better spelling.) The candidate would inundate voters with transparency and specificity, even when it hurts. And exploit cable TV’s addiction to whatever is hot and new. Mr. Trump has shown how technology has made money less important in modern politics.
Exploit the fear factor. The candidate should be from the military or immediately announce someone with modern-warfare expertise or experience as running mate. People are scared. Terrorism is today’s World War and Americans want a theory for dealing with it. President Obama has established an intriguing precedent of using drone technology and intelligence to assassinate terrorists before they strike. A third-party candidate could build on death-by-drones by outlining the type of modern weapons, troops and war powers needed to keep America safe. And make plain when he or she will use said power. Do it with very muscular language—there is no market for nuance in the terror debate…
I will even throw out a possible name for the movement: The Innovation Party. Who is against innovation, especially when winning campaigns are almost always about the future?…
He wants a brave man, he wants a cave man… He wants a strong man on a white horse. Or a white man who’s a horse’s arse. As long as it’s not some “Establishment” fella who’ll go all flaccid when it comes to gutting Social Security and bombing filthy foreigners. Someone like Donald Trump (rich old white guy) or Bernie Sanders (shouty old white guy), but more… polished.
Being as this is a Politico founder, it’s quite possible he honestly doesn’t intend to dismiss the majority of Americans/American voters as mere lazy puppets of the “Establishment”. He just wants a more entertaining horse race, for the clicks! But when you start talking about hard choices and disenfranchising normal Americans, you’re gonna end up sounding a lot like, well…
Pop DC: 700k
Pop Lincoln, Maine: 5k.
— Farhad Manjoo (@fmanjoo) April 26, 2016
— Reed Miller (@ClinicaReed) April 26, 2016
Marc Andreessen as Secretary of Innovation and Elizabeth Holmes as Surgeon-General in my dream Cabinet of Disrupters https://t.co/EOsC5nfvtU
— Carl Diggler (@carl_diggler) April 26, 2016