I have spent the past two decades in the Washington, D.C., bubble—the heart of Establishment America—covering politics and building a company, Politico, focused solely on politics. But I’ve also spent a lot of time in my hometown of Oshkosh, Wis., and my adopted hometown of Lincoln, Maine, two blue-collar towns in the heart of Normal America.
Normal America? Whose normal? Lincoln Maine is 98.1% white, which makes Oshkosh WI look positively rainbow hued at 88% white.
Here are my two big takeaways: Normal America is right that Establishment America has grown fat, lazy, conventional and deserving of radical disruption. And the best, perhaps only way to disrupt the establishment is by stealing a lot of Donald Trump’s and Bernie Sanders’s tricks and electing a third-party candidate.
Oh dear. Grand-theft, Polemics!
The ideal candidate would write a very specific agenda in normal, conversational language, not whatever nonsensical language today’s political class was taught to speak. He or she would engage voters daily on social media, with fun and flare. (Think Trump with impulse control and better spelling.) The candidate would inundate voters with transparency and specificity, even when it hurts. And exploit cable TV’s addiction to whatever is hot and new. Mr. Trump has shown how technology has made money less important in modern politics.
So what non-gibberish-speaking white dude would the original Tiger Beat want to see steal tricks from Vulgarmort?
Right now, millions of young people are turned on by a 74-old-year socialist scolding Wall Street; millions of others by a reality-TV star with a 1950s view of women. Why not recruit Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or Sheryl Sandberg to head a third-party movement? Maybe we can convince Michael Bloomberg to help fund the movement with the billions he planned to spend on his own campaign—and then recruit him to run Treasury and advise the president.
Clearly he’s never heard Faceberg speak. But more to the point, Vandehei wants White Normal Billionaires to steal tricks and then speak authentically to run as financed by other White Normal Billionaires for the good of middle America? And what should these authentic, thieving, White Normal Billionaires say?
Exploit the fear factor. The candidate should be from the military or immediately announce someone with modern-warfare expertise or experience as running mate. People are scared. Terrorism is today’s World War and Americans want a theory for dealing with it. President Obama has established an intriguing precedent of using drone technology and intelligence to assassinate terrorists before they strike. A third-party candidate could build on death-by-drones by outlining the type of modern weapons, troops and war powers needed to keep America safe. And make plain when he or she will use said power. Do it with very muscular language—there is no market for nuance in the terror debate…
Got it? So White Normal Billionaires should steal the personae of Trump, lie to us, authentically, to get our support to bomb the crap out of the middle east. Isn’t this a call for Dick Cheney’s corpse to be revived and put on the campaign trail?