15.11.15

LOSING CONFIDENCE IN THE EXPERTS.

The old wizards of smart have lost their mojo.  The public understands that.  Slowly, so too do the public intellectuals.  It's not just about the in-group within the Establishment, or the out-group, alone.  Start with longtime Republican speechwriter Peggy Noonan, noting that much has gone wrong, and credentials that once conferred authority fail to confer performance.
What is going on, and not only with Republicans, is that American voters are surveying the past 15 years. At home they see an economic near-collapse followed by a feeble recovery, a culture that grows every day grosser and more bizarre, falling educational results, a bigger, more demanding and more corrupt federal government. In the world: two unwon wars, ISIS, a refugee crisis greater than any since the end of World War II, Putin on the move, American clout and prestige on the decline.

They think: Who gave us this world? Who led us the past 15 years? They realize: It was the most credentialed, acclaimed and experienced political professionals in both parties. The pros gave us this world—the people who knew what they were doing! Who had a lifetime of political attainment!

They conclude: Maybe we have to expand our idea of “credentials.” Maybe we need another kind of “experience.” Maybe individuals with “attainments” outside the political world are the ones who can get us out of this mess.
She's still thinking conventionally, about how the factions within the Republican party leave it at a presidential disadvantage relative to the Democrats, lousy slate of hopefuls notwithstanding.  Victor Davis Hanson suggests that the continuing agglomeration of people into urban areas, and the technical progress that allows fewer people to feed the country, and more people to have stuff on call at the swipe of a screen, means that there are risks to the political institutions potentially worse than the risk to the breakdown of the rules of trading that make such a division of labor possible.
The 21st century may at last see the end of a venerable consensus that rural citizens prizing liberty and freedom provide a necessary audit on the dependent urbanites. We have left for good the world of Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower and entered the age of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump — and likely with worse to come.
That's not the only hazard, some Democrats, a New York Times analysis suggests, worry about losing a demographic that will continue to be a plurality in future.
Democrats face a major challenge in cultivating a new generation of politicians able to reach beyond the Democratic base and speak to white voters, especially white men, in states around the country. Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011, said he was very worried by the absence of successful Democratic candidates positioned to move up, especially in the South, as well as in swing states like Ohio.

“We are losing the white male vote in droves, and we’ve got to appeal to the white male with stronger economic themes, inequality themes,” he said. “We have to find a way to do that, but what is key is recruiting more white male, and women, candidates. We can’t just become the minority advocate party.”
For all the talk of Democratic strength on kitchen table issues (I dare you to find a clip from a Sunday show that doesn't have a Democrat saying, "at the end of the day, it's about the issues the American people care about") the facts on the ground are less favorable to the party of Four of Five Experts Agree.
Here in Kentucky, [defeated state auditor Adam] Edelen called the debate over Mr. Obama “yesterday’s conversation.” The problem for Democrats in Middle America, he said, is that the party is “perceived to be elite” — a perception he said the president had helped foster — and is “not speaking to blue-collar, middle-class aspirations.”
Elite alone is not the problem.

Elite and less than effective is.

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