February 28, 2016

SALENA ZITO: Awaiting The Earthquake In American Politics.

Many Americans feel the government is working against them. They see the Obama administration as rudderless on the international stage with Iran and Russia, as well as at home with our economy.

When people feel the gap between the nation’s richest and poorest is widening under this administration’s “recovery,” and that distressed areas are doing worse instead of better, their anger and resentment build. The result is more economic and political polarization and more people feeling left out — which is why you see so many voters looking to shake things up.

Take, for example, last week’s primary results here; most analysts were shocked that Trump won a majority of evangelical voters over Ted Cruz. They didn’t understand (some still don’t) that these are the same voters who supported Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012, and they’re tired of losing. These voters hear Trump shouting about strength and winning — and they run toward the light for the win, ignoring the consequences.

The sources of today’s pressures on Americans have existed for a long time, but the fault lines are finally shifting. Today’s political realignment is very much akin to the slow, grinding, opposing forces of abutting tectonic plates, but the earthquake has not yet hit. In fact, we haven’t even hit midstride of our populism.

I think that’s about right.

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