New Hampshire has spoken. In voting for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders on Tuesday, Granite State Republicans and Democrats sent a clear anti-establishment message.
Although the anger on both sides of the political aisle is targeted at different issues (illegal immigration for the Republicans, Wall Street excesses for the Democrats), it is fairly safe to say that the source of the anger is the same: the presidency of Barack Obama.
Today, nearly two thirds of Americans — of various political philosophies — think that our country is “on the wrong track.” And, although there is plenty of blame to go around, the president deserves much of it.
From the Republican perspective, Barack Obama came to Washington on a mission to fundamentally transform America. And, in many respects, he has succeeded.
He instituted a massive federal takeover of important segments of our society – both with Obamacare, which was at least passed by Congress, and with Common Core, which was not (it was, essentially, forced on states by bribe and subterfuge).
In what some legal scholars consider to be defiance of our constitution, he has acted unilaterally to implement policies not vetted by Congress and on which there is no political or social consensus.
He has refused to enforce our border, allowing millions of non-citizens to flood our nation, many of whom he is all too happy to provide government handouts.
And he has used his bully pulpit not to unite Americans of diverse backgrounds around a common cause, but to further divide us along lines of race and class.
Republican voters are rightly angry with the president. And they do not understand why, with Republicans in control of Congress, the GOP has been unable to do anything about the mess he has created.
So they turn to Donald Trump, whom they believe is willing and able – if nothing else – to flip over the apple cart.
That Trump does not share their conservative values matters not at all to these Republican revolutionaries, who proudly embody Trump’s campaign anthem, Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”
But what are the Democrats so angry about?Haven’t they gotten what they wanted over the last seven-plus years?
Yes and no.
With Obama they have gotten much of what they want – but not all. And they are worried that a President Clinton will not act swiftly enough to consolidate their gains and continue the progressive transformation of our country.
For many years now, Americans have been told (not just by Bernie Sanders, but by Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren and by President Obama himself) that “the game is rigged” against them, the “deck is stacked,” they cannot possibly succeed – unless, of course, the government steps in and helps them.
President Obama spent years stoking the flames of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and now the chickens are coming home to roost.
Today, the electorate includes an entire generation of Democratic voters who came of age in the Obama era. A bumper crop of young Democrats, conditioned from birth to blame Wall Street for … well, just about everything. A group of Democrats who grew up with the narrative that only government can protect the American Dream; that the private sector exists for the sole purpose of funding the public sector; that the “government is the only thing we all belong to.”
They are now demanding more — more than they think Hillary Clinton can give them.
These young voters want what only a true socialist can promise: cradle to grave European style entitlements.
Interestingly, while Republican and Democratic anger is, largely, pointed in different directions, there remain common threads.
Both sides are angry about the failures of this administration: about the failure to create a path out of poverty for those at the bottom of the economic ladder and about the failure to expand opportunities for the middle class. They are angry at the high cost of college tuition, the high cost of living generally, and the stagnant job market.
Conservative and liberal solutions might be different. But both sides see the economic problem clearly.
Both sides are also angry about the current state of race relations. Republicans believe that Obama has resorted to demagoguery to pit black against white. Democrats believe that Obama has not done enough to prosecute civil rights violations. Both sides understand that there has been little, if any, improvement in the lives of black Americans since Obama assumed the presidency.
So what does the New Hampshire vote tell us about the two parties today?
It tells us that the Republican Party has become suicidal – willing to sacrifice their core values and beliefs in order to “send a message.”
But it also tells us that the Democratic Party has become hardcore leftist. So much so that on Tuesday, 60 percent of New Hampshire Democrats voted for a committed socialist.
Remember that, in 1992, Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination and the presidency by running as a moderate, Southern Democrat. He won re-election by triangulating between the left wing of his party and the Republicans in Congress.
That was then.
Today, a generation of Democrats angrily demands what has been promised — free health care, free college, free birth control and a guaranteed minimum income. They want racial and income equality (equal outcomes – not just equal opportunity). And they want it now — just as long as they can also have their Starbucks lattes and the latest Kate Spade handbag, too.
Welcome to the revolution.