The Revolt Against the Ruling Class

“He can’t
possibly win the nomination,” is the phrase heard most often when Washington
insiders mention either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders.  

Yet as
enthusiasm for the bombastic billionaire and the socialist senior continues to
build within each party, the political establishment is mystified.

They
don’t understand that the biggest political phenomenon in America today is a
revolt against the “ruling class” of insiders that have dominated Washington
for more than three decades.

In two very different ways, Trump and Sanders are agents of this revolt. I’ll explain the two ways in a moment.  

Don’t
confuse this for the public’s typical attraction to candidates posing as political
outsiders who’ll clean up the mess, even when they’re really insiders who
contributed to the mess.

What’s
new is the degree of anger now focused on those who have had power over our economic
and political system since the start of the 1980s.

Included
are presidents and congressional leaders from both parties, along with their
retinues of policy advisors, political strategists, and spin-doctors.

Most have
remained in Washington even when not in power, as lobbyists, campaign
consultants, go-to lawyers, financial bundlers, and power brokers.

The other
half of the ruling class comprises the corporate executives, Wall Street chiefs, and
multi-millionaires who have assisted and enabled these political leaders – and
for whom the politicians have provided political favors in return.

America
has long had a ruling class but the public was willing to tolerate it during
the three decades after World War II, when prosperity was widely shared and
when the Soviet Union posed a palpable threat. Then, the ruling class seemed
benevolent and wise.  

Yet in
the last three decades – when almost all the nation’s economic gains have gone
to the top while the wages of most people have gone nowhere – the ruling class has
seemed to pad

Originally appeared at: http://robertreich.org/post/125702366950