Conservative David Frum, who was George W. Bush’s speechwriter, fingers anger against the oligarchic control of US politics as a major driver in the US election.
The tight grip of oligarchy upon the American political system slipped a little last night in New Hampshire.
On the Democratic side, voters cast their ballots for one of the most implausible candidates in modern presidential history—less because his rhetoric was so mesmerizing or his program so inspiring than as a protest against an expected winner perceived as a lavishly compensated servitor of organized wealth.
On the Republican side, the upset was, if possible, even more stunning. For 20 years and more, Republican presidential contests have operated as a policy cartel. Concerns that animate actual Republican voters—declining middle-class wages, immigration, retirement security—have been tacitly ruled out of bounds. Concerns that excite Republican donors—tax cuts, entitlement reforms—have been more-or-less unanimously accepted by all plausible candidates. Candidates competed on their life stories, on their networks of friends, and on their degree of religious commitment—but none who aspired to run a national campaign deviated much from the economic platform of the Wall Street Journal and the Club for Growth.
There is nothing exceptional about Frum’s analysis except for the fact that someone with Frum’s background is saying it. But what is quite extraordinary is how the world ‘oligarchy’, once used almost exclusively by the left or by those on the right to describe those states considered unfriendly to the US, is used so freely now across the political spectrum to describe conditions in the US.