Traditional kingmakers like political insiders and the parties' national committees have lost their edge for 2020 as buzzy, insurgent campaigns rack up cash and drive coverage, Axios' Shane Savitsky writes.
- Why it matters: The smoke-filled room has burned to the ground, and voters have more power.
- For Democrats, that means making sense of a massive field of 20+ candidates.
- For Republicans, that means bending to the trend's king: President Trump.
The closest thing to a Democratic kingmaker is President Obama, who hasn't endorsed.
- And the Republican establishment has been remade in Trump's image. The traditionalists who could conceivably challenge him are neutered.
We're seeing it in 2020 policy ideas that scare the establishment:
- The Green New Deal blew up the climate discussion. Sen. Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All remains a darling of the left's activist base. And Sen. Elizabeth Warren has churned out proposals for massive wealth taxes that would fund free college and student debt forgiveness.
- The RNC's 2012 post-mortem said the party "must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform" to appeal to Hispanic voters as America's demographics continue to shift. So, how's that going?
We're seeing it in the way that establishment big spenders are often ignoring the larger will of their electorate, choosing to tend to their preferred issues:
- California billionaire Tom Steyer has poured tens of millions into an impeachment campaign instead of backing a candidate.
We're seeing it in the democratization of media:
- Beto O'Rourke turned skateboarding Instagram streams into $80 million for last year's Texas Senate race. Pete Buttigieg — a gay, millennial veteran — uses a full-court press on media to help lap better-known competitors.
- Trump started it all by generating billions of dollars in free media.
The bottom line: Making noise is the key to amassing power in today's politics.
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