What I really hope they’re not doing is relying on the fact that almost every establishment figure in the country is now lining up to either say “you must vote for Hillary” or “you can’t vote for Trump.”
If they are, consider these two dark harbingers: Brexit, and Canada’s Charlottetown Accord of 1992.
The Brexit story is simple enough. Every establishment figure in the UK stood up and said that leaving the European Union was madness and financial folly. All sorts of odd partnerships were forged, and yet in the end an orange-haired carnival barker named Boris Johnson and a smarter-than-he-looks snake oil salesman named Nigel Farage led the campaign for a “Brexit”, and ... it worked! Everyone was shocked, especially Boris and Nigel. Foolishly, the excessively privileged British Prime Minister, who called up this unnecessary referendum in the first place, resigned that very day -- and now the new Prime Minister is surging forward with Article 50, which is basically the getting out of the EU paperwork.
Even scarier – and more germane for Democrats – is Canada’s Charlottetown Accord of 1992. Pay attention to this:
In 1992, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney negotiated substantial changes to the Canadian constitution that would bring Quebec more securely into the national fold, guaranteeing them a special status. This was put to a national referendum, just as Brexit was. For the first time, Canadians saw the leaders of the three major political parties standing together on one issue, each of the major newspapers screeching for a national consensus, and the intellectual elite and entertainment figures all endorsing “Say YES to Canada.” Everybody was for this piece of legislation and...!
The people voted it down. Resoundingly. Shock throughout the nation. “But everybody who was anybody was for it! What happened???”
What happened is that democracies and republics are made up, unfortunately, of people, and people – real people – are prickly and ornery. Despite the attention and respect we offer our leaders -- to say nothing of the fancy jets and all that security -- most of us think they’re assholes. So if pushed, citizens will behave like a teenaged boy told to take the garbage out: “I was gonna do it, but now that you asked me, the last thing I’m gonna do is take the garbage out.”
People in Washington and on “Meet the Press” appear not to get this. They think we care about Governor Chip Buckhorn from Loose Tooth, Wyoming endorsing someone; or Congresswoman Maxine Gabforever telling us that “every citizen needs to look at the facts” and that this will move us to action.
The truth is, the only thing this does is move us toward the opposite doorway, especially if every single Establishment Figure and Elite shows up to force the point.
And it’s only getting worse, as more and more people are waking up to the fact that they may have been sold a bill of goods for more two generations, and they’re starting to wonder, why not put everything on 28 black and roll the dice -- despite the fact that Trump is such an obvious cretin?
Here’s how it works: “I lost my savings, I lost my house, I can’t afford college education for my kids who didn’t get much of an education in public high school anyway, I’m up to my eyeballs in credit card debt, and they’re raising the price of my TV package, which delivers the only solace I have in this world; I’ve been fed food that I’m now told will kill me, been paying through the nose for cars that burn huge amounts of fuel so I can enrich Middle Eastern bastards who only want to kill me and my family, and I bailed out bankers so that my retirement age could move from 65 to 80. Everybody I ever voted for lied and delivered on nothing. So why not do a little mad-bomber stuff and, when given the chance, stamp all over their expectations? At least I get the satisfaction of one small victory over people who keep pulling the football away at the last second.”
Fear this, Democrats, fear this – and harken to Brexit and Charlottetown.