Principalities & Powers

The Buchanan Revolution, Part II

The greatest irony of the periodic political revolutions that occur in American democracy is that most of the voters who make them possible have not the foggiest notion of what they are doing. In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt won the White House by promising to balance the budget and reduce the scale and power of the federal government, and , there is no doubt that most of the Americans who sent him to Washington supported him simply because of the desperate economic straits in which they found themselves and their country, not because of any passion they shared with him for the socialist and internationalist "experiments that he and his brood immediately imposed. The same could be said for almost all the major presidential elections in our history. The truth is that the concepts of the "people's will" and the "mandate" are largely political fictions that serve to mask the ambitions of the small cadres who run governments at all times, regardless of the forms and rhetorical dressing these elites assume.

The same is true of the Buchanan revolution of the 1990's, and the claim by its opponents that most of the voters who supported Mr. Buchanan in the Republican primaries did so as a "protest vote" and not because of any serious endorsement of the candidate's ideas is thus largely irrelevant, even if true. Let us say that only some 10 percent of the average 30 percent vote Mr. Buchanan received...

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