PESSIMISM FUELS RISE OF ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT CANDIDATES
Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the country is on the “wrong track,” according to the latest NBC News/ Wall Street Journal polling. That’s the highest measure of unease since November of 2014 – and one of the highest measures ever recorded.
“In May 1992, after H. Ross Perot had launched his populist independent run for president, 71 percent said the country was on the wrong track,” the Journal reported. “In September 2007, when frustration with President George W. Bush was peaking, wrong-track sentiment was 63 percent.”
This elevated unease is “giving a lift to antiestablishment candidates and changing the dynamics of the 2016 presidential contest for both parties,” the Journal concluded – referring to the front-running GOP candidacy of Donald Trump and the surprisingly credible Democratic candidacy of independent socialist Bernie Sanders.
Trump and Sanders may represent opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, but they are clearly tapping into a common discontent with the status quo in Washington, D.C.
Market Research Foundation has explored this discontent in several states – including early-voting South Carolina, where recent polling shows Trump enjoying a three-to-one lead over his GOP rivals.
Meanwhile in the 2016 Democratic primary – which until recently was widely viewed as a coronation tour for Hillary Clinton – “Democrats who are proud of their progressive values are filling arenas to hear Sanders speak in a direct manner,” according to H.A. Goodman of The Huffington Post.
Insurgent candidacies are built on pessimism – and right now Trump and Sanders are rallying thousands to their respective banners based on their ability to reach pessimistic voters. Naturally if pessimism continues to climb, these insurgent candidates will find broader electoral success.