A Vote of No Confidence in the American Political Class

From Ron Brownstein at the National Journal:

The severity of these swings testifies to the distance separating many voters from either party. When asked to rate the performance of congressional leaders in a SHRM/National Journal Congressional Connection poll last month, only about one-third of adults gave positive marks to either Republicans or Democrats. Strikingly, nearly three-tenths said they disapproved of the job performance of both Republican and Democratic leaders. That number rose to 41 percent among independents.

In that survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly half of independents gave both Republican and Democratic leaders poor marks on placing the national interest ahead of their own political interests. Similarly, in a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, a comparable 43 percent of independents (and 36 percent of all voters) said they lacked confidence that President Obama, congressional Republicans, or congressional Democrats can make the right decisions for the country's future. All of these findings represent a striking no-confidence vote in the nation's political class.

Brownstein believes this collapse in confidence could create an opening for a third party or independent presidential candidate in 2012:

Although the practical barriers to a third-party candidate remain substantial, these findings document a substantial audience that might consider a non-politician with a problem-solver pedigree, especially if the economy remains weak.
It is worth noting, however, where the emphasis is placed in this article. The piece is entitled "A Corrosive Collapse in Confidence." Taking this at face value, one would have to conclude that it is entirely backwards insofar as it suggests the public's lack of confidence in institutions both public and private is the "corrosive" agent at work in the body politic. Placing the horse back in front of the cart, we would have to say that the undeniable degeneracy and bankruptcy of those institutions is eroding the public's confidence in them.


Pete Healey said...

We've seen Perot and Nader make their attempts, and I don't think that another guy like them is going to help break through the barriers put up by the two parties. The corrosive power of money in politics (that is, that money is all that matters) won't be cured by campaign finance reforms as proved by the Supreme Court and by the state-by-state efforts that have stalled.
So what do we do?

Nony said...

The answer here is probably the usual: work from the ground up.

Or put another way:
1) determine your goal,
2) ?
3) achieve it.