This past week served as a reminder that the political landscape is now permanently changed. The days of the establishment Republicans and Democrats is now over.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) and Democratic National Committee (DNC) used to be the organizations that candidates had to be ordained by in order to win elections — but that is no longer the case.
Social Media, grass roots campaigning and media exposure now allow candidates to gain enough time with voters that the traditional Party powers are now severely weakened.
This has been a Republican problem for the past few months as the Party has had a tough time figuring out what to do with outsider candidates, namely Donald Trump and Ben Carson.
This past week that all changed when Matt Bevin won the Kentucky governor’s race by 9 points despite polling down 5 points going into the election.
In Virginia’s state senate races, the Republicans held their narrow majority despite a huge push by Democratic Governor and close Clinton ally, Terry McAuliffe.
A state that had been trending Blue in the past two elections now appears to be a toss-up.
Bevin’s election in Kentucky was striking because he did it without RNC support until they came to help one week before the election.
He was not an insider candidate due to his primary challenge to Mitch McConnell’s senate seat just a year ago.
The backlash against traditional politicians that was once thought of as a Republican problem is now a serious issue facing Democrats going into 2016. The Kentucky election loss was blamed on “Trumpmania” by the head of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA).
This is an absurd excuse given that this election was won by Bevin pushing hard on social issues, notably support for traditional marriage and defunding Planned Parenthood — both issues Trump barely speaks of.
The polls are reflective of this surge in the voting public yearning for something that is not branded a politician. Hillary Clinton is getting beat in almost all head to head match-ups with Republicans, but her greatest margin of defeat comes at the hands of Ben Carson, who is the least political of anyone on the Republican side.
Regardless of who ends up winning the nomination, Hillary Clinton is going to have an uphill battle. Outside of Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, the other names on the Republican side are fairly fresh and new to the electorate.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has the best name recognition of any candidate in the last 100 years.
There is no one that can be considered more “establishment” than a former First Lady, senator from New York, Secretary of State, and queen of the Democratic Party for the last 25 years.
Her support has a finite, cement ceiling. There are not going to be a lot of Independent voters who are truly undecided to wake up a year from now on election day and say, “Hillary, that’s sounds good to me now,” and pull the lever for her.
The reality is that the she is going to have to run largely as a third term Obama, and people are longing for something new.
The Republican primary race actually is the most diverse it has ever been: two Latino candidates, one African American, one Indian American, and one female. The party of old white people is now solidly on the side of the Democratic primary with the leading candidates Hillary Clinton (68 years old) and Bernie Sanders (74 years old).
We live in a society where age is just a number, but it is hard to ignore the generational gap that Hillary has compared many on the Republican side.
People are looking for young, energetic problem solvers.
The Democrats are running on a platform of “freebies” for everyone paid for by the wealthy “boogie men.” This will resonate with their base — but it’s not fresh or new.
It does not address the pressing needs of a superpower on the verge of $20 trillion in debt, anemic economic growth and an ever-more dangerous world to contend with.
With the election a little less than a year away, we are in unchartered territory.
People have never been more polarized or more unsatisfied with their elected officials.
What has seemed to be an isolated infection on the Republican side is proving itself to be a more broad feeling among the electorate as a whole.
“Throw the bums out” has now become a quiet bumper sticker to represent all of us.
Kevin Broderick serves as a consultant for a Fortune 500 Insurer in the Employee Benefits marketplace for large employers. He received a finance degree from Providence College. For more of his reports, Go Here Now
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