The 2016 election cycle may be one of the longest and most crucial in recent years.
The American people are angry and they don’t know why. There is a climate of systemic frustration particularly at what are considered to be practiced politicians and perhaps this is justified.
While the Great Recession may be over, American lives have not improved much in real terms since 2008.
“Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” resonates with those that are struggling to maintain.
There are also some that feel their opinions are not acknowledged by those in current elected positions. Their ideals are held in contrast to that of the majority. They are concerned that their voice will be lost in the roar of the majority. It’s in an election like this that we see a rise in the popular solution to unrequited angst: “The Washington Outsider.”
Nearly once a decade since the mid-tolate 20th century there has been an example similar to our current situation. During the 1960s, those in opposition to the Vietnam War threw their support behind Bobby Kennedy.
In the wake of Watergate’s first-term governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, unseated an incumbent; and the Iran Hostage Crisis four years later aided in former movie star, Ronald Reagan’s, takedown of Carter. In these elections the American people voted with their unbridled anger and selected candidates that personified this social unrest. This is what makes candidates like Ben Carson and Donald Trump so attractive.
We live in an era where louder is perceived as better. Volume wins arguments. This, in combination with degradation in civil discourse, leads us to place blame on those we deem too comfortable in elected office.
And the closer they are to Washington the more they are to blame. Carson and Trump, a neurosurgeon and a baron of the private sector, respectively, are the personification of the anger we collectively feel. They say the things many are too afraid to say and that in turn legitimize how some Americans feel. However, this doesn’t make for a qualified presidential candidate. What makes Washington outsider candidates so attractive is that they have all the answers and none of the practice.
Carson did not know until recently that the Baltic States were NATO members. And Trump’s insistence on a “Great Wall” securing our southern border for which Mexico will apparently pay does not show a breadth of knowledge on issues of foreign policy.
And while Americans yearn for someone to represent how they feel, that’s not the only job of the president. The president must also be able to identify issues and develop strategies and policies to deal with said issues.
That being said, for those of you up in arms over the American people playing the Trump Card, recognize that it’s because they believe there is no one within a few degrees of separation from Washington that can represent their anger.
Amelia Schmidt is a staff writer for The Spectator.