1.) Institutional collapse: Political Parties and Populism
In any society, those who govern against the people will eventually face the wrath of the people. Whether the society is a democracy, a Constitutional Republic, a secular dictatorship or a religious theocracy is irrelevant.
The human right to be free cannot be contained forever. The Queen song “I want it all” sums up the human obsession with the God-given (nature-given for secularists) right to be free. In the first half of the 2010s, it was the Arab Spring that swept the Middle East and toppled dictatorships.
In the second half of the 2010s, it was Western-style governments that faced the wrath of the voters.
The birth of the Tea Party, a first wave of change began on February 19 of 2009.
CNBC analyst Rick Santelli screamed on the trading floor that fed-up Americans should revolt like 1776 and throw tea in the harbor to protest more taxation without representation. At that moment, the Tea Party as a movement was born.
Initially, it involved holding rallies containing thousands of people, many who were previously apolitical.
Yet the Tea Party quickly matured. It began fielding candidates. Some of them lost, but many of them won. The more the liberal media, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the Obama administration demonized the Tea Party as “astroturf,” the more this real decentralized grassroots movement pushed back.
The Tea Party was a major reason the Republicans fired Pelosi and stopped the Obama congress in the 2010 elections. Former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann formed the Tea Party Caucus in Congress, and CNN agreed in 2011 to do Tea Party presidential debates in 2011 and 2012.
The Tea Party played essential roles in helping Republicans win the House in 2010, the Senate in 2014, and the White House in 2014. Every time Trump confirms a conservative judge, it is because Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell is the Majority Leader. The Tea Party has since been absorbed into the Republican Party and other Trump groups.
While the Tea Party was fading from view the winds of change were just getting started.
In 2015, those winds were whipped wildly. An entire year before the U.S. presidential election, there was another vote that the elite media and the pollsters got entirely wrong. Nigel Farage headed the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) that demanded Great Britain leave the European Union.
Despite polls showing that BREXIT was headed for defeat, it won the national vote by four points. Prime Minister David Cameron, who strongly opposed BREXIT, resigned immediately after the humiliating defeat. This was a victory for those demanding freedom from the EU’s failed statist bureaucracies.
While the American media predicted such a revolution would not happen in the United States, BREXIT absolutely was the match that ignited a similar anti-elitist bonfire in America in 2016.
At the outset of the primary season, there were 17 major Republican presidential candidates, five major Democrat contenders, and many candidates joining the contest from other less prominent political parties.
Yet every prediction confidently made by pollsters and the media elite alike was turned on its head. The predicted Democrat coronation of Hillary Clinton turned into a street fight. The Republican coronation never happened either as highly favored and well-funded candidates like Jeb Bush fell relatively early in the season.
The reality was that voters of both major parties ruthlessly punished anyone deemed establishment, no longer wanting to tinker around the margins of the system. They wanted to take a keg of dynamite and blow the current political system in Washington to kingdom come. In the end, they did.
Back to Britain, Cameron’s replacement Theresa May squandered her chance to be the next Margaret Thatcher. Rather than honor the BREXIT referendum, she kept trying to delay until weary voters surrendered to those wanting to remain in Europe.
All she did was enrage and embolden those demanding to leave. After a humiliating defeat, she also resigned from her conservative Prime Minister position.
Then came Boris Johnson.
In 2019, he promised BREXIT would go through. Nigel Farage was breathing down his neck and holding his feet to the fire.
When establishment Tories tried to remain, Johnson risked it all and called for new elections. He staked his entire conservative government on enacting BREXIT. Labour nominated a leftist radical in Jeremy Corbyn who was dogged by charges of anti-Semitism.
Areas that had voted for Labor for 70 years went conservative. Working-class voters demanded BREXIT. Johnson won the largest conservative majority since Lady Thatcher. The conservative landslide was a realignment in British politics, as the working class left the party that abandoned them.
The left put the elites over the people and was crushed for it.
Johnson is a Trump clone, and 2020 will tell if the British election will foreshadow a similar revolt in America. BREXIT certainly played a role in helping Trump to power in 2016, as workers everywhere became fed up with leftist movements that chose climate change over workers.
While the United States and the United Kingdom got the most attention, voter revolts against elites were taking place elsewhere as well.
In Israel, the left has completely collapsed. Labour barely registers as a party anymore. The main threat to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative Likud comes from rivals who range from the center-right to the hard right.
Israeli elections are about security, and the left has lost the trust of the Israeli people on matters of safety. In France, center-left President Emanuel Macron is facing constant riots from yellow vest protesters demanding jobs.
Economic stagnation and an inability to prevent terrorist attacks have led to popular uprisings throughout France.
While the center-left is in free-fall, far-left candidates like Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren are threatening to run on a Jeremy Corbyn-style platform.
The socialist members of The Squad led by Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar are all pushing Sanders. Ayanna Pressley backs Warren.
Yet traditional conservatism has also been devoured. Donald Trump is not a conservative. He is a populist. Populism was once on the fringes, from Ross Perot to Pat Buchanan to Ron Paul. They had their followers, but none of them won a single Electoral vote. Trump won the election as a populist and is in a strong position to win reelection as a populist.
Like his counterpart Johnson in Britain, Trump is an interesting hybrid. Trump has confirmed traditional conservative judges and taken mainstream conservative stands on guns and taxes. However, his positions on trade, immigration, and foreign policy are counter to establishment Republican orthodoxy.
On trade and foreign policy, many liberals even agree with him.
The 2020 Democrat primaries will show us if the establishment center-left wing led by former Vice President Joe Biden can survive.
If Sanders or Warren win, then the hard left will completely own the party of Thomas Jefferson. The party of Abraham Lincoln has already been devoured. Until at least 2025, the Republican Party will be the party of Trump. Normally powerful conservative entities such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Wall Street Journal editorial pages have been sidelined.
The destruction of mainstream political parties will have long-lasting ramifications for every aspect of society. Parties are a unifying force. Without strong parties, even more, societal fracturing and political balkanization takes place. The revolt of the people against the establishment and their political parties is the top news story of the past decade.