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Tue, Sept. 17

Column: The anti-establishment uprising

A large number of voters, both the Democrat and Republican, seem to be rebelling against the establishments of their respective parties. While Hillary Clinton seems to be ahead in the national polls, Bernie Sanders is the candidate who is gaining momentum and gathering much larger and more energetic crowds on the ground.

It appears to some pundits that younger voters, particularly younger women, are rejecting Clinton's message. Many young voters are embracing Sanders' socialist presentation.

I believe Sanders is a registered Independent, yet he is running as a Democrat and gathering a significant number of followers from that party. Clinton is seen as the establishment candidate for the Democrats, making Sanders the man for those who want to take that party in a different direction.

Why are the Democrats rebelling against their presumed nominee? Is it because the polls show that the public doesn't trust Clinton or that they think she was complicit in ruining the reputations of women who accused her husband, Bill, of sexually using and abusing women? Was it because of her closeness to big money backers on Wall Street and Goldman Sachs? Or do they think that the country doesn't need another Clinton in the White House? While both my parents were Democrats when I was growing up, I can't begin to explain why so many Democrats are rejecting their party's elites.

On the other side of the aisle, the anti-establishment candidates appear to have a majority of the followers. Taken all together, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson and Rand Paul have poll numbers that in most polls are over 50 percent. If Marco Rubio is added in (and he was elected to the Senate as a "Tea Party" Republican, and lost only some of the Tea Party support when he joined the Gang of Eight on immigration reform), the base of the Republican Party looks like it is in full scale rebellion against their party's elites. As one of those anti-establishment rebels, I think I can explain this revolution.

Even with primaries, the establishment, country club Republicans, want to dictate to the base, who their presidential nominee should be. In 1996, they wanted Bob Dole. They got him and he lost to Bill Clinton. In 2000, the elite of the GOP wanted either George W. Bush or John McCain. Bush proved more popular with the base and the Presidential election was thrown into the Supreme Court, whose ruling ultimately favored the election of Bush. In 2008, the elite group felt that it was McCain's "turn" to be the Republican standard bearer and Mitt Romney graciously backed out. McCain lost. In 2012, it was designated by the powers that be, that it was Romney's turn. Romney lost.

As a constitutional conservative, I would like my party to nominate a real conservative, who follows the Constitution. I may vote for a "moderate" conservative, against a liberal, progressive or socialist, but my feelings are that this is the "lesser of two evils." Most constitutional conservatives do not trust members of our party who label themselves, "compassionate conservatives." It is not that we are not compassionate, it is just that we think compassion should be an individual trait dispensed with one's own time and money and not a bureaucratic government program to redistribute the taxpayer's money. This distrust seems justified since George W. Bush doubled the deficit, supported bailouts and teamed with Democrats to popularize the phrase "too big to fail" to help big corporations in the banking industry.

Nor do constitutionalists have much trust in "maverick" politicians, such as McCain. While generally in agreement with the maverick's foreign policy, domestically they lose their conservative credentials. Like a lot of other conservative politicians who are elected to the most exclusive club in the world, the U.S. Senate, they team with their good friends and colleagues on the other side of the aisle to create bills, however well intentioned, that are bad for the country and for the Republican Party. Whether it is campaign finance reform, educational bills or comprehensive immigration reform, these bills, if passed are at best ineffective. The bills the maverick supports often fail because they are contrary to the will of the people.

So the anti-establishment Republicans are angry. They believe that establishment Republicans are afraid to use their "power of the purse" to stop some of President Obama's unpopular programs. They think that the elite have bought into the myth that the voters blame Republicans when Democrat presidents close down the government, despite that fact that Republicans have made remarkable gains in Congress and the states after government shut downs in 1995 and 2013.

What's more, the anti-establishment Republicans think that if we can get an anti-establishment nominee, we can replace the elite country club Republicans with working, middle-class Republicans, who care more about doing what is right for the country first. They think nominees like Cruz, Carson or Rubio would do that. They even think the country would be better off even if Trump were president, rather than some elite with the last name of Bush or Clinton.

Buz Williams is a retired Long Beach, California, police officer who has lived in Prescott since 2004.

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