I’m proud to say I have spent the last three decades of my life as a Beltway insider in some capacity. That put me in the heart of the Establishment from the time I was 11, when I was polling classmates about John Anderson’s radical moderation. But I’ve also spent a lot of time in “Normal America,” like hardscrabble Minnetonka, Minnesota, and my new adopted gritty hometown of Park Slope, Brooklyn. I’ve also spent the last decade dealing with the injustices of family court, but that is (mostly) besides my point.
Here are my big two takeaways: Main Street is right that the Establishment is filled to the rafters with horseflop. There’s partisan name-calling, grandstanding, and gridlock. Politicians would rather argue than debate the real issues, such as a national charter school agency, or a Constitutional amendment mandating balanced budgets. Americans desire these things, yet they’re out of reach due to a clogged-up political colon in dire need of a disruption enema. Sadly for America, both parties are too busy shutting down the government and calling each other illegitimate un-Christian non-citizens to do the hard work of disruption we so desperately need.
Unfortunately, the two main disruptors we have now are Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Trump trades mostly in viral-ready racial LOLs, and Sanders trades in his virginal hordes’ wanton harassment of respected reporters. But they’ve tapped into a very real anger, be it Trump’s appeal to sullen Oxycontin-based barter tradesman or Bernie’s resonance with men who want to silence women.
What if someone new tapped into that disdain for the Establishment? Someone who really wanted to bring back what made the American experiment so noble?
Here’s how a potential disruptor — one option I’ll just throw out there is former Politico exec Jim Vandehei — could pull this off:
-Voters are mostly pig-faced yokels who have tired of the glib pandering from the Marco Rubios and Martin O’Malleys of this world and want someone to get down in the slop with them. This means they would require someone who essentially appears as an outsider, or in these terms, cloak themselves in the swine fecal matter of voters.
-Exploit the fear factor. Voters love being afraid, as evidenced by the ultra lucrative “torture porn” genre of film and the popular anti-establishment candidates. Sanders has scared me and others with his open hatred of women, while Trump has scared us with vulgarity.
But these men pale in comparison to someone who has actually killed people. What’s more terrifying than that? This is where a key figure of the disruption movement, retired General David Petraeus, comes in. What’s more, Petraeus has been disgraced in front of the nation before, and that’s something most voters who make horrific life choices can relate to on a smaller scale. He’s not just a cool man who’s killed people. He’s also human, and makes bad choices from time to time.
-Learn from Sanders and Trump’s shortfalls. Only 40 percent of voters in any given party are actually angry about their circumstances. You can gripe about “billionaiuhs” or “Mexican ISIS” all you want, but people want a hand up, not a middle finger.
A true disruption would be one of unrelenting positivity. In other words, say hello to communications director Dr. Oz, whose unrelenting “can-do” message that people can drink special water that will dissolve tumors would be a welcome change.
-Use the Tech 2.0 Webolution to RSS feed a new iTunes into the “politics” app. A Disruption candidate would be well versed on Uber, Tinder, LiveJasmin.com, Lyft, Twitter, Facebook, r/fathersrights, and LIVECAMS.RU.
Right now, millions of young people are “on fleek” for a decrepit old socialist from a state shaped like a goiter, acting like the financial industry is the reason they have terrible lives. Millions more are somehow deriving pleasure out of Donald Trump reducing Jeb Bush to tears. Why not convince an innovator like Theranos’ Elizabeth Holmes or self-starting entrepreneur like Blackwater founder Erik Prince to start a real movement of change? Maybe we can convince Jim Webb, with his blistering moderation and unapologetically throbbing muscles to put some of that firecracker charisma to a third party campaign, and when he’s done, make him either Secretary of Defense or Secretary of Indian Affairs (his choice).
A true Cabinet of Disruptors would roll up their sleeves and pass the entitlement reform and new defense spending that voters are begging for. Treasury Secretary Marc Andreessen would run the federal budget like a lean and mean start-up. EPA Chief Peter Thiel would innovate an island-based solution to rising sea levels. Universally respected tech titans like Steve Ballmer, Carly Fiorina, and Hunter Moore would bring dignity back to the Supreme Court. And Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel, a forward-looking reformer with results, would guide this Team of Rivals for the 21st century.
I will even throw out a possible name for this party: The Disruption Party!!! Who is against disruption, ideation, or other words that sound like things Thomas Friedman scrawled in red lipstick on a mirror? Especially given that campaigns often involve a combination of these concepts.
All it needs is a disgraced general — or former Politico exec — to be its candidate.
Carl “The Dig” Diggler has covered national politics for 30 years, and is the author of “Think-ocracy: The Rise Of The Brainy Congressman”. Got a question for the Dig? E-mail him at [email protected] or Tweet to @carl_diggler.
To try CAFE’s Morning Shot email, sign up here.