Political professionals scorn protest campaigns. Generally, they get little attention and attract few votes. Sometimes, by happenstance, they can be destructive, as demonstrated by Ralph Nader's third-party campaign in 2000. But these are not normal times. America's extreme and growing inequality, its falling middle class and its obscenely corrupted politics demand the end of politics as usual. As Teachout argues forcefully, the Democratic Party faces a fierce debate about its direction and basic values. The gap between its deep-pocket Wall Street and corporate donors and the working families it claims to represent is now a chasm. A new economic populism has begun to build. And that means that campaigns like Teachout's are increasingly important.
The speed by which political shifts take place has grown exponentially. The Internet and television dominate the political and chattering classes and what we hear there immediately spills over into the realm of real people. If you need proof of that assertion, take a peek at what's happened to New York's formerly fearsome Governor Andrew Cuomo.