Gov. Ehrlich argued that the old political campaign rules no longer apply
“I’ve never seen an environment like this,” he said.
“I’ve never seen an American public so dissatisfied with their choices.”
When people are that anxious about the future, “Unpredictable things
happen in political campaigns,” and the old rules no longer seem to
apply, he said.
Ehrlich discussed four areas he sees for concern — people’s views of the wealthy, the top 1 percent of Americans by income; dysfunction in Congress; the role of social media in politics; and the trend on some college campuses and elsewhere to limit dissent and argument.
“The 1 percent” are a significant issue for both Republicans and Democrats, Ehrlich said, but the two groups see them in very different ways. While progressive Democrats view the wealthiest Americans as greedy and failing to pay their fair share to society, conservative Republicans tend to be most troubled by the idea that their children and grandchildren will be denied the opportunity to become wealthy themselves, he said.
In discussing congressional dysfunction, Ehrlich pointed to the redistricting that was done after the 2000 census, creating politically safe districts in which a member of the House of Representatives is almost guaranteed re-election for as long as he or she wants to serve. With very few seats in play, he said, the result has been the disappearance of legislators willing to compromise — almost no moderate Southern Democrats or Eastern liberal Republicans still exist.