Slouching toward the Millennium:
The Election of 1994
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming. And not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
-- Robert Frost, "Once by the Pacific"
Politically, this is a summer of discontents. Most Americans seem irritated by politics; Congressman Bill Richardson (D-New Mexico) called the public mood "antsy"--impatient with leaders but too listless to follow. The electorate is not angry, the usual frothing ideologues aside, so much as disappointed in government and at least half disposed to give up on public life. The hesitant hopefulness that surfaced in 1992 has pretty much vanished, and Americans appear to be looking, often despairingly, to their private defenses.
It is not just Bill Clinton, although unhappiness with the president is a big part of the story. In California, despite prolonged hard times and sharply contested races between interesting candidates in both parties, turnout in the June primary was the lowest in the state's history--38 percent of registered voters--and the electorate turned down every proposal to issue bonds for public improvement. 1 And from Senator George