…and Republicans) more dissatisfied with their government than at any time in polling history. (pdf) Overwhelmingly, whether Democrat or Republican, Americans believe their government does not represent them. Overwhelmingly, whether Democrat or Republican, they believe it represents special interests rather than the general public. Overwhelmingly, they believed their “representative democracy” was corrupt because it did not “represent” — at least them. And yet the campaign did nothing fundamental to address this fundamental fact about us.
This is the core mistake — not just of Clinton, but of too many in the Democratic Party. America is with Reagan—“Government is not the solution. Government is the problem”—not because they believe, like Reagan, that the private market can solve every public problem, but because they believe their government is fundamentally corrupt. They see taxes as a waste — not because the poor don’t deserve help, but because they believe the government is not helping anyone except itself. Most don’t support the idea of supporting government because most believe government doesn’t support them. Government serves the “special interests,” so wonky papers declaring “we’re from the government and we’re here to help” are just the lead balloons of modern American politics.