If American politics still operated on the rules of the twentieth century, the Democrats would own this political cycle

That’s part of Walter Russell Mead’s opening line in his piece as to why they don’t:

Lost in the chatter about the potential GOP tsunami in the midterm elections is one simple fact:  if American politics still operated on the rules of the twentieth century, the Democrats would own this political cycle.

The issues that concern voters most in this cycle (unemployment, insider power, Wall Street greed) are, or used to be, Democratic issues.  This should be the Democrats’ time.  That it isn’t speaks volumes about the changes the country is facing.

I suppose that’s my surprise too: the Democrats should have locked this deal up a long time ago, forty years ago, to be exact.  The fact that they haven’t can be boiled down to one simple fact: those who lead the party come from groups who are out of touch with the reality that their constituencies, both those they have and those they need to maintain a majority, live in.

For the persistent trashing that Americans take from their elites–and have for a long time–for being provincial, ignorant and ill-informed at the ballot box and everywhere else, they sense that we need a transparent system that rewards actual results rather than one that requires everyone to go under the table just to survive, as is the case in most of our world.  In that respect they are ahead of our “chattering classes”.  They also sense that the Democrats can’t or won’t deliver on that.  (They’re not really sure the Republicans can or will either, which is why the Republicans can’t break through to a “permanent majority”).

The party–or individual–who can connect with that reality will sweep the existing set-up away.  But can same party or individual do that constitutionally?

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