One of the reasons I think I have pretty good political sensibilities is that I actually listen and pay attention to details. So when Jeb Bush comes out with a new campaign slogan, “Jeb can fix it,” I take some time to consider why his campaign team would hinge it’s entire reboot — indeed, his entire campaign — on the words “fix it.”
It’s obvious they must have focus tested it to heaven and back. So what does that tell us? It tells us that their research indicates that voters are yearning for someone to “fix” what they perceive as a broken system…with lots of broken components. Whereas in 2000 voters were looking for decency and respectability (after the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal) and in 2008 they were looking for hope and change (after being disappointed with decency and respectability), now they are looking for an easy fix… one that can be embodied in one man. Just vote for him and your problems will begin to get fixed.
I think that explains the psychology of both parties’ races this year. Fifty-five percent of GOP voters are leaning toward an “outsider” whom they hope can make the magic fix (Trump, Carson or Fiorina), and 25-30% of the Democratic voters are looking for the same thing in Bernie Sanders. On the flip side, people who support Clinton, Rubio, O’Malley, Kasich, Bush, and a few of the other GOPers are looking for competency. They don’t expect a president to “fix” the system; they just want someone who can effectively manage an imperfect system and maybe get it back on course.
I think the general election will come down to this clash: voters that are wishing for a magic fix, and those that are content with a steady hand to manage the unwieldy ship of state. I fall into the latter category. I think we will prevail.
But I feel bad for the fix-it group. They will forever be longing for something that probably doesn’t exist, and hence forever bitter about their inability to make it real.
I’m beginning to think there is a mass hysteria spreading across America – a real, delusional mass hysteria – about wanting a rebel candidate who will “fix” things in Washington. The appeal of outsider, “tear-it-all-down” candidates like Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, and Elizabeth Warren is on a par with the hysteria over witches in early Puritan America. But instead of exorcising the devil out of a woman’s body, voters in both parties now want to exorcise corporate money and phoniness out of the body politic. And they’re turning to political witch doctors for a cure.