When a trucker beats a professional politician in an election, America wins

Nov 5th

Though on occasion I've happened across Tom Nichols' tweets, I admit to not knowing who the contributing Atlantic columnist was before his recent condescending snark towards a New Jersey state senator-elect that went viral. The briefest of research reveals that Nichols used to espouse a right-leaning philosophy, soured quickly on the Trumpian direction of the Republican Party, and now can be found inhabiting the ideological ground somewhere in the vicinity of Jennifer Rubin and the Lincoln Project boys.

There's nothing inherently wrong with that – people's ideas and beliefs change, and as long as Nichols isn't misrepresenting himself like Rubin or others who feign a conservative identity while endorsing progressive Democrats, there's plenty of room in this country for people with differing views on issues.

But this? Forget the Republican/Democrat framing altogether, from an American perspective, this is just a miserable take:

The man Nichols insults is a New Jersey truck driver named Ed Durr – who ran a shoestring campaign with virtually no staff or funding, while working his own job – and managed to defeat the long-time incumbent Senate President, Democrat Steve Sweeney, despite the latter's connections, name recognition, powerful friends, and deep pockets.

All other things aside, there's a distinctly American feel to this story.

I mean, look at this:

The wardrobe change, the shaky handheld camera shots, the lack of polished audio, the royalty-free music loop that just repeats itself, the unintentional blurred focus at the end? Regardless of your politics, it has a distinctly Mr. Smith Goes to Washington feel to it.

Now, from what I've been able to gather from just the initial phases of the unfolding progressive media colonoscopy of him, Durr appears to be a Trump-supporting guy who is rough around the edges. He's certainly not polished or couth in the eyes of the Beltway crowd, which was probably one of his most appealing attributes to the 32,000 in his district who got out to vote for him Tuesday.

I dare say that while there is certainly a "Joe the Plumber" feel to him, there's also a very obvious comparison to be drawn with progressive darling, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Inexperience? Check. Lack of political knowledge? Check. Anger at an unresponsive government? Check. Blue-collar background? Check. Seems to relish being the outsider? I mean, how many times can AOC remind us she's from the Bronx? Check.

While I disagree vehemently with her policy preferences, one of the most endearing qualities of AOC has always been her background. It may not be rags-to-riches, but it is bartender-to-high-profile-congresswoman. And the best that any American citizen can hope for in a lawmaker is one that understands what normal life is like.

There's a reason that William F. Buckley made his famous (and now readily duplicated) quip about preferring to be, "governed by the first 2,000 people in the Boston telephone directory than by the 2,000 people on the faculty of Harvard University."

Professional politicians, like the educated elite of intelligentsia, operate from a pretentious worldview where they believe themselves to be irreplaceable cogs in the effective rotation of society's wheels. Rather than fighting diligently to protect the inalienable right of the peasant to pursue his own version of happiness, this self-imagined effete aristocracy sees it as their duty to define happiness for the rubes and manipulate their sorry communities into contentment through their wise legislation.

What's the practical result of that arrogant and haughty approach? Time and again it is corruption and exploitation – two descriptions more than a few citizens had for New Jersey's Senate President Steve Sweeney.

Is it possible – perhaps even probable – that Senator-Elect Ed Durr will be an underwhelming or unimpressive legislator? Sure. But then again, that might depend on what you think the best execution of his office to be.

If you're looking for a wise and cunning mini-tyrant, you'll likely be disappointed with Ed Durr. If you're looking for an unassuming guy who thinks you're better off if he stays out of your way, I'd be willing to bet he's going to be an upgrade.

P.S. Now treat yourself to our viral video "How to speak Bidenese" 😁👇

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