At the last Restoration Weekend of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, one of my highlights was appearing on a panel with Pat Caddell and then sitting at the same table with him during dinner while Alan Dershowitz spoke.
Pat Caddell is being remembered as Carter’s pollster, but he might be more accurately remembered as the man who helped develop the strategy that brought Trump to the White House. And on that Friday, he scathingly analyzed Republican failings in 2018.
Caddell was a regular at the Freedom Center’s Restoration Weekend. He passed away at the age of 68. But his many talks and appearances at Freedom Center events remain with us.
Here’s a brief excerpt from his crucial post-election summary two years ago.
When I was at Harvard — I was at my class reunion, which I’d never been to before for a reason — I had to do a survey of my class, the Class of ’72, which was, I would describe, the epicenter of the white Ivy League privileged class, they actually were higher. The only thing they were higher than the American people on was 95 percent of them knew that’s the way it worked because that’s how they worked it. But in any event, those things all led to also the fact that a couple of attitudes have maintained themselves, which I realized the real question about them is, would anybody weaponize them? Let me just give you a couple examples because they’re important.
“Political leaders are more interested in protecting their power and privilege than doing what is right for the American people.” Eighty-one percent of the Americans agree. By the way, we have a divided country except when it comes to how Americans from left to right really think of how this country works. It isn’t partisan. At this point, it’s overwhelming. “The power of ordinary people to control our country is getting weaker every day. Political leaders on both sides fight to protect for their own power and privilege at the expense of the nation’s wellbeing.” Seventy-nine percent agree. These are from just a few months ago. “Powerful interests from Wall Street banks to corporations, unions, political interest groups, have used campaign and lobbying money to rig the system for themselves. They’re looting the national treasury of billions of dollars at the expense of every man, woman and child.” That’s 72 to 75 percent who agree.
“I believe the government is working for the people’s best interest.” Twenty-eight percent say that’s true. Sixty-seven percent don’t think it’s true. “Politicians really care about me” — when I first started polling and then Bennet wrote this question, the result was it was about a 40/50 split. It’s now 19 percent say yes, agree, and 76 disagree. And perhaps most interesting of all is the question we asked on whether the Declaration of Independence says that the government receives their authority from the consent of the people. “Does the federal government today have the consent of the people?” And it’s 68 to 75 percent we’ve ranged saying no, and I call that, when I first saw that result in 2013, a pre-revolutionary moment. And the question was whether anybody would speak to any of this.
And from the beginning, Donald Trump, a lot of his own instincts were – it’s not exactly the way I would’ve designed it – but he managed to make a campaign and he stood up against 16 other people who were, in their own ways, essentially epitomizing the political class or the ideological class of their party, when the issue was neither ideology or the right of kings of our political class to rule.
That’s a lesson from Pat that we ought to remember.
And here are some others.