May 26, 2014

SALENA ZITO: On Main Street, A Building Wave.

This country is in the midst of a quirky wave election, one that is hard to define and doesn’t want to be labeled. The electorate is moving separately toward the middle of each party and away from the political red meat that pundits and strategists use to drive up wedge issues and voter turnout.

Fading on the right is the control once exercised by such groups as Heritage Action, Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and anything with “tea party” attached to its name.

Same for the left: MoveOn and Organizing for America are not the influencers they once were with Democrats, who largely feel their support of President Obama has not gotten them what they expected.

They were told by these progressive groups that they would get an efficient, engaged, compassionate, transparent leader who would stand up for the little guy. Instead, they got a dispassionate, disengaged figurehead who has divided the country by race, gender and equity, who mouths all the right phrases to get elected but displays no leadership when things get tough.

If Pennsylvania truly is a bellwether state that gives political scientists a way to gauge what is happening in coming elections, then pay attention to what it is telling them after last week’s primary. A restless electorate, weary of strident ideology and class warfare, longs for effective, responsible and transparent governing — and to hell with the political hell-raisers.

People want leadership to be outraged by the scandals that rip apart lives (such as the mishandling of patients by Veterans Affairs) or that pick political winners and losers (as in the IRS targeting of conservatives).

They want political leaders who will get to the bottom of what went wrong in Benghazi so we can try to stop that from happening again.

Well, let’s hope.