Twilight of the Elites by Fletcher Hall

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This election season the elites in America may see their long-time domination of politics, the media and foreign policy disappear. Since the end of World War II, the elites in Washington, D. C. have been extraordinarily influential in a variety of arenas. Elites include elected officials, political operatives, lobbyists, journalists, both electronic and print media, and professional fundraisers. This class of elites began developing during the 1940s and grew as the influence of Washington, D.C. became more pervasive. One example of this evolution is described in the book The Georgetown Set.

Until this election year, the well-entrenched groups of elites had a firm hold. Now, as much of the country is polarized, their power is questionable. This is evident in numerous polls and by the reticence of many American citizens to believe in the apparent bias emanating from Washington, D.C., New York, and the media-driven Western enclaves of wealth and liberalism.

The ascendency of the elites can be traced to the end of World War II and the subsequent fall of communism. Gregg Herken, the author of The Georgetown Set, chronicled the emergence of the political and bureaucratic elites, beginning in the late 1940s and ‘50s, primarily in Washington, D.C. This original group of elites flourished until the end of the Kennedy administration and the escalation of the Vietnam War. After that period in American history, the diversification of various groups of elites began. As that diversity spread and the 24-hour cable networks evolved, the influence of the elites, especially print media, diminished, allowing cable news networks to assume a part of the mantle of the journalistic elite.

Another recent book, Flyover Nation, discusses the angst, opinions and diverse viewpoints found in much of America. There is a growing swath of people who hold differing outlooks from the elites who profess to espouse values found in all America. This phenomenon has been building in the lives of the middle class and those falling out of the middle class for some years, but often ignored by the elected class and pontificated upon by the media and other thought makers. Meanwhile, wages have dropped and working multiple jobs has become standard living practice. This segment of the population has had qualms with the status quo for years and in 2016, this concern has become a major issue. Yet, the influence of the elites appears to be less influential and, in many instances, ignores the growing populism emerging in the United States

The resurgence of populism in this election is evidenced by the rise of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. These two “new faces” appeared quickly and their popularization has been energized by the disgust and angst felt by much of America’s middle class.

Many Americans appear to dislike and disbelieve both the political and media elites. The growth of social media has also had a significant effect on the media elites, particularly the print media The media elites have been proven to be in collusion with one national campaign this year, giving yet another example of why much of the American population is leery of the establishment elites. The governing class in Washington seems committed to self-preservation and continuation of their narrative, while this election may well indicate changing political ideas in national and foreign policies.

With millennials now being the largest segment of voting Americans, the influence of the media and political elites has been further diminished. Currently, this nation is very divided, both politically and philosophically. The script for national elections has been rewritten in 2016; the November election may determine the country’s direction for years to come. An authentic outsider has challenged conventional political wisdom, but an insider may have the ability to maintain the status quo. And, the Congress of the United States may change political control. The stakes are indeed high.

As America changes, the domination of the political, media, and intellectual elites appears to be less prominent than at any time in recent history.

Letters to Editor

  1. Bill Anderson says:

    The dominance of the political, intellectual and media elites MUST die – right now. It is painfully clear to most Americans that the entire class of “elites” knows little or nothing about how most people in this country live, feel or think. Donald trump rushed to near celebrity status because he said nearly exactly what many people in this country are thinking about a multitude of subjects. Politicians already in office or seeking office simply become prostitutes who will say or do what they believe it will take to get them elected. For reasons yet unknown, people continue to swallow that stuff hook, line and sinker. Look at where we are today – I have just defined the reason; gullibility.

  2. Les Moorhouse says:

    Yes Yes Yes…to you Fletcher. Finally someone who addresses the real problem! I have been espousing this for years that we as a society have been brainwashed by the “for profit Press” and the Hollywood Red Carpet mentality. This year more than ever it is most prevalent, and sickens me every time I watch the morning and evening “news”. If the elites think that we as a people are sickened by Mr. Trumps antics, they should sit down and watch Maury Povitch, Jerry Springer, Dr. Phil, or any one of the numerous shows that they have been using to brainwash us with. What a joke. Seriously, every network when they report on Trump does it with a frown, and, with a smile when they report on the Clinton campaign……it’s so obvious why can’t people see it. Mr. Trump is a breath of fresh air compared to the chain of rich professional politicians that in every past campaign have promised us “change”…….that never comes. As John Prines’s level headed waitress said…….”blow up your TV”

  3. mary Wood says:

    A person who is offended by the repulsive remarks made about women by the GOP candidate is not an elite. The Democratic candidate and many other citizens are working for better education for the underserved. When these young people graduate from high school or college,will you call them elites? Does education and sensitive manners mean you are an elite?

  4. Gren Whitman says:

    I continue to be puzzled that the Spy — an otherwise responsible and literate source of news, views, and features — continues to publish Fletcher Hall’s gobbledegook.

    • John Blakeney says:

      Mr. Whitman,

      It’s called free speech. I have read some of the comments you have posted and never questioned your comments, maybe you should question yours.

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