January 27th, 2010
As a futurist, it is imperative to be a student of history. The macro trends, rhythms, and forces of the past can be of great assistance when trying to see ahead clearly. In the case of the Massachusetts Senate Election I found myself understanding it within the context of American history. So, Thomas Jefferson a little bit later in the column
What do we know at the blocking and tackling level in regards to the Brown victory?
First, the political “pundits” – and that word is always best in quotes – are back. What did they have to say about Tiger Woods except to speak of a fallen idol? What could they say about Haiti except to express what an unspeakably horrible tragedy it is? Ah, but now there is blood in the water! Political drama of the highest order! It is so predictable what is going to be said on Fox News, on MSNBC and even CNN in the days, weeks and unfortunately months ahead. Raised voices! Pompous posturing and prognostications about the status of health care, the Democratic majority and the Obama Presidency. How will the Republicans relate to the Tea Party folks?
It is clear that Brown ran a perfect pitch campaign. Timing, image, message and package were all right on target. Coakley ran perhaps the most lackluster campaign in recent memory. What killed her, and is the point of this column is that her campaign, her demeanor reeked of entitlement. This was a Democratic seat in a Democratic state and hey she won the Democratic primary. Why do I have to shake hands with voters?
This is why the electorate is in revolt. We voted for change in 2006, change in 2008 and change in 2010. It isn’t that citizens are voting against health care, though I am sure many did. It is not that citizens were voting against the Democratic Congress, though I am sure some thought they were. What the voters were voting against was this entitlement stink of a professional, careerist political class. Every election from now on out will be about this to some degree. They got us into two wars, two recessions, historic collapse of housing values, record unemployment and have added 20 trillion dollars debt and unsecured liabilities and that is just in the last nine years.
In the last four months as I speak to audiences about the trends, changes and transformation that is about to occur in the coming ten years, there has been an emerging consistent point of view and question. It goes something like this: we understand that this is coming but will the politicians ever get it? In Canada they speak about the insular, dull, bureaucrats in Ottawa. In the U.S. it is about the life-long politicians beholden to special interests for self perpetuation. If your party is in power you get a job. If your party is out of power, you become a lobbyist until the revolving door brings you back into the corridors of power. For two years I have been saying that, increasingly, the phrase “national leaders” is oxymoronic. It is the people that seem to lead the politicians.
When the founding fathers crafted those exquisite documents and initiated the greatest experiment of democracy in history they never, ever, envisioned an entrenched political class whose sole interest was perpetuation of their power and their party’s power. Thomas Jefferson was a farmer. He became a great statesman, a magnificent president and left a towering legacy of compassionate love of country. Then he went back to being a farmer. The founding fathers imaged a citizen’s democracy, where service was given and then, private life was resumed. That was the assumed practice. Where were political parties mentioned in those documents we revere?
In my current Trend Report and in Q&A with audiences I suggest that by 2016 there could well be a new, third party in ascendency, winning across the map. Both the Democratic and Republican parties feel so 20th century, burdened by legacies no longer pertinent to the 21st century and the Shift Age.
The historians of 2020 or 2030 may well point to this period as a new beginning when Democrats and Republicans were marginalized, giving way to a party tuned to the realities of this new century, this new age, this new decade. We shall see.