Kevin Fobbs
The populist political revolution is real and will be televised
By Kevin Fobbs
June 15, 2016

Party unity that typically goes hand-in-hand with a winner of a long hard presidential primary election season may be the farthest thing from followers of Bernie Sanders. In many ways the culmination of the hard fought election primaries may be the first of the opening salvos against a political system that has locked out and marginalized voters across the political spectrum for decades.

The populist political revolution is not only very, very real, it will be televised in millions of American homes and viewed on their computer, tablet and smart phone screens. To say what triggered this uprising may be difficult to pin on one simple explanation. But what is clear is that both presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump and Vermont independent senator Bernie Sanders have tapped into a restlessness that has been simmering beneath the political surface for many years.

There are some who remember the turbulent political days of fury which were captured in the spirits of young voters in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Millions of young people demonstrated on college campuses against the Vietnam war, while black protesters took to the streets to protest continued racial injustice. The era was a boiling cauldron of anger and anti-establishment resistance which exploded in racial riots in urban America and at the 1968 democrat convention as well.

In fact, there was a famous moniker that was used by the Black Panther movement of the time that said, "The Revolution will not be televised." The popularity of the slogan was captured by singer Gil Scott-Heron in his 1970 song 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" lyrics. The first stanza of the lyrics is:

"You will not be able to stay home, brother
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag
And skip out for beer during commercials
Because the revolution will not be televised"

It is safe to say that this populist political revolution will not only be televised, but it will incorporate the anger, frustration, and revolutionary ideals from both the politically left and right. All the political gamesmanship assumptions which have been utilized throughout previous presidential election cycles are being tossed out of the campaign playbook.

Instead, the slogans that are being embraced by the populist movement are directed at party establishment leaders and their legions of well-heeled backroom lobbyists that have put heartland families last and their opportunistic monetary needs first.

Billionaire GOP presumptive presidential nominee Trump has literally unshackled the American voters by creating a populism that is not bound necessarily to a political party. Instead it is tied to a deeply-held belief to make America first again by ripping out establishment attachments. The chains that tie former GOP voters like automatons to being slavishly obedient to a party label were erased by the Donald's call to action. It worked!

Meanwhile, the little noticed Vermont senator Sanders launched a simultaneous movement on the far left of the spectrum. He galvanized millions of young politically disconnected voters with a call to action that was simple. Senator Sanders went after the wealthy class and dramatized the difference between his followers and the moguls of Wall Street by stating, "The billionaire class now owns the economy and they are working day and night to make certain that they own the United States government."

So when young millennial-age voters considered the fact that they were under water with tens of thousands of dollars in college debt, or families and workers were going bankrupt with mortgages and healthcare bills, Sanders' revolutionary populism struck political pay dirt. Hillary on the left and many of Trump's political combatants on the right could not foresee that the revolution was for real and it was being televised at both Trump and Sanders' humungous-sized rallies.

Now as both major political parties prepare their organizations' campaign machinery to do mortal combat in advertising and in political general election debates, watch out for the new revolutionary voters. Maybe a new slogan will be written for 2016, but meanwhile Scott-Heron's song ending lyrics may suffice.

"The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised
Will not be televised, will not be televised
The revolution will be no re-run, brothers
The revolution will be live."

© Kevin Fobbs


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Kevin Fobbs

Kevin Fobbs is founder and president of a policy organization called National Urban Policy Action Council (NuPac), that supports conservative colorblind solutions to universal issues and domestic policies that impact urban America... (more)


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