You know the times are abnormal when a flamboyant businessman who has never held political office beats out over a dozen seasoned politicians in the Republican primaries. On the Democratic side, an unkempt socialist long associated with the leftist fringe garnered the votes of millions.
It’s a wake-up call, signaling the profound level of desperation and anxiety throughout the American electorate. After eight years of Barack Obama, people are hurting.
They’re hurting economically. Economic growth is an anemic 1 percent. The national debt has grown from $10 trillion to $19 trillion under Obama’s watch. The debt-to-GDP ratio has surpassed 100 percent. Median household income is down. The poverty rate is up. For the first time since records have been kept on this, there are more business failures than start-ups.
It’s what happens when you elect the most left-leaning president in history. There’s a trade-off between redistribution and growth, and Obama’s priority is the former. He has raised taxes and dramatically expanded regulations, resulting in fewer businesses, fewer jobs, and lower wages compared to what the situation would be had he focused on easing burdens on businesses.
They’re hurting physically. Since 2012 (through 2014, the latest year for which data is available), average life expectancy in America has stagnated — a first since the Great Depression. Murder rates in big cities are up, reflecting less proactive policing in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and Obama’s support for it.
Terrorist attacks are up, reflecting Obama’s support for open borders. Our healthcare system is even more messed up than it was before, reflecting Obamacare.
There’s worry over world events. Wars rage and terrorist armies rise in the Middle East, reflecting Obama’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and refusal to intervene elsewhere in that region. A war rages in the Ukraine and the potential for war looms in North Korea and the South China Sea, as foreign powers are emboldened by Obama’s timidity in foreign policy.
From Latin America to Africa to the Middle East, we’re in the midst of the worst refugee crisis since World War II, reflecting the above-mentioned foreign policy failures and/or Obama’s obsession to flood the U.S. with future left-leaning voters.
People hardly recognize their country anymore. Obama and the left have imposed or are seeking to impose radical changes to long-established social norms; from transgender bathrooms to euthanasia to state-sponsored gay unions to taxpayer-financed abortion to the removal of religion from the public square — and the ostracism or prosecution of those who refuse to accept.
Freedom of speech is under attack, notably on college campuses as viewpoints anathema to the left are suppressed — in some cases with the backing of Obama’s Department of Education. There’s the criminalization of policy differences and the Obama Justice Department’s support thereof, notably vis-à-vis global warming skeptics.
His IRS took the unprecedented and highly corrupt step of treating advocacy groups unequally based on their political leanings, thus infringing on their free speech rights.
Americans also are alarmed by the erosion of the rule of law.
The main function of the executive branch is to implement and enforced laws passed by Congress. Yet as head of the executive branch, Obama has explicitly refused to enforce many laws. These include immigration statutes, the Defense of Marriage Act, and certain Obamacare laws that he found inconvenient.
In these strange and disquieting times ushered in by Obama, you see corresponding effects. One such effect is the rise of an “outsider” as a leading presidential contender. In past election cycles there always has been a small subset of the electorate championing such anti-establishment candidates. But things have worsened so much under Obama that demand for an outsider has ballooned.
Trump’s and Sanders’ rise during the primaries in defiance of all expectations is a manifestation of economic hardship and general anxiety throughout America.
Frustrated with “insider” politicians whom the populace perceives to be icons of the status quo, millions of people threw their support behind the real estate developer and the socialist.
On the Democratic side the status quo candidate prevailed in the end, and as of this writing is favored to win in the general election. She pledges to double down on Obama’s policies. In that scenario expect conditions to deteriorate further, and the electorate’s love affair with anti-establishment candidates to grow stronger.
Patrick D. Chisholm is a writer and editor whose articles have appeared in many publications including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Baltimore Sun, San Francisco Chronicle, National Review, and Christian Science Monitor. Previously he worked for financial and business publications, and in the State Department's Office of Mexican Affairs. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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