When consumers feel like their needs are not met or concerns not properly attended to, there is an opportunity for disruption, when new or reformed entities provide change the consumer experience. Companies like UBER, Amazon, and Netflix changed the way consumers move around, shop, and entertain themselves. In the political sector, voter dissatisfaction continues to lay the framework for disruption of political establishments that hoard power and influence.
Traditionally voter sentiment leads to political waves, shifting power between our leading political parties. After the crippling financial crisis, American voters gave progressive liberalism a chance, providing Democrats the White House and strong majorities in Congress. When Dems used power to implement big spending projects, failed economic and social policies, and intrusive programs, voters shifted control of Congress to the GOP under the Tea Party wave. In a nation with a two party political system, voter sentiment typically shifts power between the parties.
But, that somewhat changed in 2016, as the cycle demonstrated a clear rejection of the perceived establishment of both leading political parties. Based on exit polling, many took exception to continuing Democrat policies that increased the burden on families living paycheck to paycheck, while reducing opportunities. Moreover, the clear rejection of big name Republicans in favor of the ultimate outsider showed supporters were also not willing to back candidates that say the right things, but lack follow through. As both focus on solidifying power and influence, voters sent a strong message to both parties.
Unfortunately, the establishments are not heeding the warning. For instance, the GOP successfully ran on the core promise of repealing and replacing the unpopular Obamacare program, but punted when the opportunity finally arose. Sen. Caputo stated she did not come to DC to hurt people. She obviously did not come to help them either. Or Caputo and her GOP colleagues would have a plan ready after seven years of campaigning. But, that was not the case.
Democrats also struggle to accept the call for change, choosing the path of denial and deflection. Consider the attempt at rebranding under the “Better Deal” announced by party leaders. Mainly calling for wage increases, affordable health care, and anti-corporate policy. Ironically, while in power, it's policies reduced wages, increased to cost of health coverage, and strengthened the size and power of corporations. Essentially, it once again asks the public to double down on a failed vision.
As in business, disruptions may not appear orderly and come off as chaotic. After Inauguration Day, one political pundit commented that President Trump was disrupting all American institutions, which is what the American people elected him to do. People implementing change should expect push back and be prepared to deal with it effectively. An effective communication strategy is needed. Not one that promotes the appearance of chaos and disorganization.
Going forward, one can expect voters will be more inclined to push for change in both parties. Establishment candidates should expect early retirements in 2018, especially for the GOP. Regaining control might be a longshot for Dems, since it needs to establish relevancy and purpose. The prospect of new political parties becomes a greater possibility as both parties fail to align with the general public.
The two party system of government in the United States shielded many elected officials over the years. One did not have to completely listen to constituents, just slightly better than their counterparts. Now, with the simultaneous rejection of both parties is more of a reality, elected officials are on notice. Giving the government that is supposed to be “For the People, By the People, and Of the People” back to the people.