2.2.16

SEEKING BIPARTISAN RESPECT?

Here's G. Murphy Donovan on the common roots of discontent, whether manifested by Sanders voters or Trump voters.
Elites, right and left, are not pleased with the wisdom of crowds. And if we are totally honest, Donald and Bernie are not the real worry for the establishment. The real threat to traditional elites comes from the people -- the voter folks with real jobs who pay taxes. Cooking the media books along with primary poll picks, the jackass class and media brass see their sinecures and monopolies at risk in 2016.
What have those wizards of smart brought us?
Unlike the Clintons and the Obamas, neither Trump nor Sanders are breeding lawyers. Indeed, both frontrunners are normal family men of a sort.

Both attract large enthusiastic crowds. Neither has much of a following among the media, party hacks, feminists, special pleaders, Islamists, cold warriors, moneyed interests, the legal profession, or race hustlers. Both seem to be inclined to fix things on the home front before they try to mend the dysfunctional world. Both also agree that Hillary shouldn’t get a third term in the White House. And neither Trump nor Sanders, quite frankly, seems to give a damn about what George Will, Rich Lowry, Nina Totenberg, or Chris Matthews thinks America should be.

Nonetheless, we are led to believe that both Trump and Sanders would be disasters. Really? Compared to whom? Surely not a Bush, an Obama, or another Clinton.  America has had three doses of Bush, two draughts of Clinton, and now two too much of Obama. At home, the country is still burdened with debt, deficit, and flirts annually with default. Abroad, those Muslim wars are now about to have Platinum Jubilee with no end to terror, or toxic religious refugees, on the horizon.

After seven seasons of inertia, fiscal incontinence, and yes, serial foreign policy disasters, a lottery might have picked better presidential timber than either of the two American political parties. So why not have the people pick a commander-in-chief 2016? Almost anyone should do better than the usual suspects.
What intrigues, is that in the middle of an endorsement of Senator Sanders, Nation editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel leaves an opening for negotiations with libertarians and conservatives.
To escape the cruel grip of austerity, we need to have an adult conversation about the tradeoffs between taxes and crucial public investments. Until that happens, the best we can hope for is a watered-down version of Reaganomics, which poses a serious problem for Democrats regardless of whether Clinton or Sanders is the nominee.
A Nation editor has to frame the policy choices that way. All the same, it's encouraging to see a self-styled progressive acknowledging tradeoffs.  Perhaps there are some public investments that might not be made, and provision through open markets rather than taxes more effective.  In National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru and Rich Lowry suggest that Republicans have been remiss in making that case.
Conservatism’s economic agenda has overlapped too closely with the interests of big business and rich people. We should devote more attention to government-limiting steps that would be good for the broad mass of people — including the people who have been left behind in our economy — and we should highlight the concrete benefits of those steps. Neither Trump nor his supporters within conservatism have outlined much in the way of a practical agenda for these struggling Americans; but his opponents within conservatism have not always even paid attention to them. One hopes that Trump has opened up space for this conversation.
In that way, the wage class voters might get a piece of the action.

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