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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Status Quo Must Go: Message of 2016

What is clear is that the establishment is on the ropes

Well, it’s finally over. What a night! I know many people are surprised—shocked even—at the result, but if you’ve been paying attention, it’s not hard to see that political change has been brewing for a long time. I even predicted something like this in my 2012 book, “Hostile Takeover.” What I missed was that Hillary Clinton would end up representing the status quo, just like Mitt Romney did in 2012. Donald Trump represented change, and that’s what voters wanted.

Going forward, it makes more sense to think of politics as a spectrum between liberty and authoritarianism.
For all her perceived inevitability, Hillary was precisely the wrong candidate for this election. She was everything people hate about politics. Voters viewed her as a fundamentally dishonest Washington insider, more indebted to the corporate and foreign interests that enriched her family and the Clinton Foundation than to the people she was asking to elect her

Hillary was also running as a third term for the Obama Administration, a platform which voters roundly rejected. That shouldn’t be surprising. It’s rare enough for one party to hold power for three terms when times are good. Economic anxiety is very real right now, and people feel displaced and scared. Obama and Hillary’s insistence that everything is awesome was tone deaf, and rang hollow.
At the same time, the traditional Left-Right spectrum doesn’t seem to make much sense anymore. Trump is half New Deal populist, half arch conservative. Bernie Sanders was half Ron Paul, half Donald Trump. It’s no longer obvious what defines a liberal or a conservative. Going forward, it makes more sense to think of politics as a spectrum between liberty and authoritarianism.

I’m afraid Trump falls pretty far on the authoritarian side. He explicitly invokes FDR, one of the most authoritarian presidents in our nation’s history, and he will likely try to rule from the White House as Obama has. We are about to go through a four-year teachable moment on the dangers of unlimited executive power.
 What is clear is that the establishment is on the ropes.This demands the question: who will curb Trump’s bad instincts? Obama was (somewhat) reined in by Tea Party. Under Trump, civil libertarians will need to fight hard to protect the rule of law, while Rand Paul-style liberty Republicans will play an essential role defending the Bill of Rights.

What is clear is that the establishment is on the ropes. Not only did people choose change, but more importantly, the cozy relationship between the insiders in politics, business, and the media is easier to recognize for what it is. Many Americans are disgusted by this.

Even in light of so much social pressure to pick the lesser of two evils, Gary Johnson received more votes than any third party candidate since 1996. This is in part because people are fed up with the two-party duopoly, and in part because young voters are still very much up for grabs. Expect third parties to be more relevant in the future, not less.

Meanwhile, the answer to all of this in our very diverse, deeply divided nation is tolerance and liberty, simple rules that treat everyone the same, as long as we don’t hurt people or take their stuff.

This piece is from Free The People

  • Matt Kibbe is a leading advocate for personal, civil and economic liberties. An economist by training, Kibbe is a public policy expert, bestselling author and political commentator. He served as Senior Advisor to Concerned American Voters, a Rand Paul Super PAC. He is also Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Austrian Economic Center in Vienna, Austria. He is a member of the FEE faculty network and cooperates in running Free the People