‘Populist Revolt’ Seems to Be Defining Presidential Race
NATIONAL REPORT — Much has been written in the last few years about the role that money plays in the U.S. political system. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that the government couldn't limit election spending by individuals and corporations and thereby completely changed the political landscape of the United States — or so it was thought at the time.
Conventional wisdom held that elections would forever more be held captive to the well-financed special interests and the voice of the people would be muted, if not silenced.
But fast forward six years and Convenience Store News’ government affairs columnist Joe Kefauver, of public affairs and creative firm Align Public Strategies, says it seems — at least at the presidential level — this has not been the case. In fact, this year’s presidential primary results may indicate precisely the opposite has happened. Case in point: For two weeks in a row, the right-of-center monied interests took a beating from the populist insurgency of Donald Trump.
“Long gone is Jeb Bush and his $150 million in Super Pac funding. Gone is Scott Walker, who blew through $30 million in a few months. And gone is Marco Rubio, who had raised a staggering $70 million, a little more than half a million per delegate,” Kefauver told CSNews.
“Donald Trump, who to date still hasn't raised as much as Walker did, remains the frontrunner, riding a tidal wave fueled by white, male anger and lots of free media,” Kefauver continued.
Meanwhile on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders, the epitome of anti-establishment, beat Hillary Clinton, the epitome of the Washington fundraising industry, in the Michigan primary, claiming his first big and politically important state and staying relevant in the race — at least for now.
“He is surfing right alongside of The Donald, nimbly navigating the angst and discontentment,” noted Kefauver.
The government affairs specialist believes a populist revolt on both sides is defining the race, and where the rollercoaster stops no one knows.
“But for now, on the red team, the Tea Party boots are crushing the Brooks Brothers suits. And on the blue team, the vegans are knee-capping the Volvos. Maybe the Beatles were right — money can't buy you love,” he concluded.