At both ends of the political spectrum, Americans are hungry for an antidote to cronyism. Frustration with that aspect of the status quo is what powered both the tea party and the Occupy movements. In between, people may not quite be sure what's wrong with the current system, but they know something isn't right.
Therein lies the opportunity for Republicans. As the Examiner's [Tim] Carney put it, "It's time for free-market populism and a Republican Party that fights against all forms of political privilege – a party that champions all who want to work and take risks in order to improve their lives and raise a family."
There is ample evidence that this could be a winning strategy. As workers have struggled to bounce back from the recession, banks and corporations have been raking in the profits, and that hasn't gone unnoticed. A report by the College Republican National Committee earlier this summer found the conservative narrative that young people most agreed with was, "We need leaders who aren't afraid to fight existing interests like big companies and big unions in order to reform outdated and unsustainable programs." Americans, especially young Americans, have become deeply suspicious of large institutions. More worrisome for Republicans, they have come to associate the GOP with the very institutions they mistrust.
The College Republicans asked a focus group of aspiring entrepreneurs why they voted for President Obama even though they see Republicans as the party that favors business. "The Republican Party would make it really easy to start a business and have a successful business if you already have that capital in your bank account … but we're all sitting on our own various debts and our student loans, and the Republican Party isn't helping us with any of that," one respondent explained.