“…the wedge isn’t what it used to be,” writes columnist, Michael Kingsley. (“What Do The Simple Folk Do?” Vanity Fair, July 2015, pg. 47.) By “wedge,” Kingsley refers to those core values, like abortion, gun control, prayer in the schools and affirmative action, that used to rally Republicans to the polls. He admits, people on either side of the issues haven’t changed their views, but the fire in the belly is no longer as intense. He gives a number of reasons for the change, not the least of which is a distrust among the voters that politicians mean what they say and are tired of being whipped into a frenzy only to have the issues nearest and dearest to their heart fade from the agenda of the newly elected. (Ibid, pg. 47)
One common concern among Republicans and Democrats, alike, is the economy. Kingsley postulates that’s why presidential candidates on both sides of the aisles for the 2016 election are busy carving out images of themselves as ordinary people. You’ll find them eating at Chipotle or pushing a cart in the supermarket, places which, Scott Walker, Republican candidate, charges Hillary Clinton, a Democratic opponent, has seldom, if ever, visited. (Ibid pg. 47) I don’t know where he was when he made the accusation, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was standing in a Wal-Marts. (Ibid pg. 47.)
Kingsley is probably right. Nobody wants to be an elitist in what looks to be a growing class war “of the most pathetic kind.” (Ibid, pg 47.) “It’s obviously more important that our next president shop at Kohl’s than that she or he have any notion of what’s going on, say, in the Middle East.” (Ibid, pg. 47)
Again, Kingsley has his finger of the pulse of the next election. Voters remember the fiasco of 2008-2009 when so many of the super-rich betrayed their country and went unpunished. Yes, the middle class may be far more important in the upcoming election than the Middle East. And arguing about the right to life pales compared to the more pressing question of whether or not the common man has any rights at all and if democracy is failing us.