Return of the 'throw the bums out' movement
I also noticed a poll from NBC this morning poll that said 60 percent of Americans want to defeat and replace every single member of Congress, which would seem to run contrary to the heavily promoted NBC News polling narrative that the shutdown is hurting Republicans far more than Democrats.
The return of good old-fashioned "throw all the bums out" grouchiness among the electorate can be seen as a good thing for us small-government types. Democrats have dominated Washington politics for years, so if people think the political system is fundamentally dysfunctional, that's going to reflect more badly on them.
Sometimes I think conservatives really just need to help the general public connect a few dots. A lot of people think "politics" are inherently ugly or annoying. Okay, then why support an ideology that wants to politicize everything? People consistently tell pollsters they're worried about debt and the size of government - I recall another recent poll, I believe from Gallup, that said concern about the overwhelming power of government had reached an all-time high. Good, because the overwhelming power of government has also reached an all-time high. Also, contrary to the obsession of the Ruling Class with things like gun control and amnesty, those issues never make it into the top 5 voter concerns. They always cite the economy, unemployment, standard of living, and government debt as their top concerns.
And yet... they don't seem to vote that way, do they? Not in numbers that would match up with these poll findings. Obviously it's easy to tell a pollster something and then vote on different priorities when Election Day rolls around. And some people are bamboozled by political operations, marketing, and partisan loyalty. There are Democrat voters who loved every one of Barack Obama's 20 pivots to job creation, and will greet number 21 with much the same enthusiasm they showed the first, while the rest of us roll our eyes.
But the missing ingredient that does the most to resolve the discrepancy between these polls, and the way people actually vote each November, is despair. People have come to accept the New Normal. They don't believe they actually have the power to deal with many of the things they complain about. They're not going to vote out 60 percent of congressional incumbents in the next election, and they're not going to form a third party that can survive head-to-head against the Republicans and Democrats. They're unhappy, but they don't think positive change is possible... not from the American people, anyway. No matter how badly they might think of the two parties, Congress, and the White House at the moment, they have an even lower general opinion of their fellow citizens.
This makes them vulnerable to pitches from statist snake-oil salesmen, who promise that brilliant administrators, powerful bureaucracies, and blue-ribbon panels can resolve social problems or shower benefits upon the public. It means they'll accept cataclysmic failures like ObamaCare, which they would never tolerate from any private business entity. (They don't like ObamaCare, but they're not focusing their discontent into irresistible political demands, the way they'd vote with their feet and annihilate a private company that defrauded and failed them so comprehensively.) They'll tolerate weak economic growth and high unemployment as the best of all possible worlds from a heavily regulated, State-controlled economy, but they'd flip out if free-market capitalism was performing this poorly.
People think everything stinks in Washington... but they've accept a subordinate, submissive role compared to their Ruling Class, whose moral and intellectual pretensions they still largely accept. We don't need a third party. We need an electorate that isn't willing to settle for what it's been getting. Step One will be convincing them to believe in themselves enough to demand both liberty and responsibility.