[This rerun seems appropriate for Super Tuesday. It originally ran Nov. 9]
Political pollsters, including slow-on-the-uptake Frank Luntz at Fox News, have finally discovered that voters are angry. The next project is figuring out why.
(Note to the political class: It’s too late to do anything but refine earlier talking points. If you are screwed now, unscrewed is not an option.)
But what happens when voters get angry? An example comes from dirt-poor Guatemala, known for decades of strife and meddling by the United States. (Its dictators were once picked by United Fruit Co., spawning the term “banana republic.” United has morphed into Chiquita Brands.)
Since the late 1960s, Guatemala’s elections have been democratic, but the populace still harbors suspicions as corruption runs deep and street gangs roam freely. The most recent president was forced from office by scandal, thus another election.
The center-right party’s nominee was Jimmy Morales. The center-left party nominated Sandra Torres, a former first lady. In a runoff, the voters rejected the former First Lady, deeming her old news.
Morales, 46, had never held public office but was familiar to countrymen, having worked on a prime-time TV series centered on lewd jokes and sketches. He quit last year to run for the presidency and started with poll numbers people made fun of.
I know what you are thinking. A certain GOP presidential candidate isn’t a comedian, but is an adroit performer interesting to TV viewers (most recently proved on “Saturday Night Live”). Some liken him a carnival barker; we’re not here to debate that. Our former First Lady in the race gets the brunt of the name-calling, with Twitter users firing off things like “lying treasonous crone.”
Was the Guatemalan runoff close? Well, no. The comedian won going away … with 68% of the vote.