Magazine article Politics Magazine

We're about to Tilt Left: Poorer People Are Now Voting in Droves. and They're Mad as Hell

Magazine article Politics Magazine

We're about to Tilt Left: Poorer People Are Now Voting in Droves. and They're Mad as Hell

Article excerpt

America's evolution from a republic to a democracy has accelerated dramatically in this election year as political participation has soared and voter interest multiplied.


In the coming general election, indications are that turnout will smash all recent records, likely topping 140 million--a 20 million increase over 2004 and a 40 million improvement over 2000.

But in between actual voting periods, America has morphed into one continuous town meeting, where people express their opinions through polling and monitor the presidential race on YouTube, through Internet news sites, and on cable television. Obama's pastor makes outrageous remarks and he instantly has over 70 percent national name recognition (almost all negative). Hillary lies about her participation in the Bosnia conflict and immediately the whole nation knows all the details.

The opinion leaders have no chance to lead and have to scramble to stay relevant with their commentary. Who cares that the baseball season has opened? It's politics that is on everybody's lips.

In this new environment, no campaign can possibly track, much less control, the developments that affect it. The candidates and their organizations become, in effect, franchises to be used by individual voters in their dinner and breakfast conversations and at the proverbial office water cooler.

The level of popular expertise is astonishing. Information once limited to a few insiders is now routinely bandied about by everyone. The cable repairman knows the key Senate races to watch and the taxi driver has an opinion on who will win the next primary. The endorsements of individual delegates, once grist for insider gossip, become instant national news. There are no more barriers to entry. Now, everyone plays the game.

To practice politics in this new environment is a particularly perilous endeavor. Where once campaign managers could pride themselves on how well they controlled events, they now have to fasten themselves down to avoid being swept overboard as the whitewater current of public opinion seizes their campaign craft and hurtles it down the river at its own pace in the direction it chooses. …

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