The Rebellion of the Influential Non-Elites

In the autumn of 2008, a variety of accomplished experts in American politics published a book that sought to explain how the seemingly impossible had happened and a first-term U.S. senator from Illinois had stolen his party’s presidential nomination from a figure that spent the last eight years being groomed for the role. These authors’ thesis was a simple one: elected and unelected party insiders, not the general electorate, decide who will be their standard-bearer. The Party Decides contended that this has been the case since in American elections for decades, and it was only exacerbated by the post-1968 reforms to the primary process that were designed to eliminate the “smoky rooms” in which party elders chose their presidential nominee. This theory of plutocracy may be republican feature of the American system, but it certainly isn’t a democratic one. And it makes sense that it would be bitterly resented by those who do not count themselves among party elites – particularly those who wield substantial influence over the political debate. Donald Trump is the embodiment of their angst.