Paddy Chayefsky Voters

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Paddy Chayefsky Voters

We've had the Angry White Men, whom the pundits credited with the huge GOP victory in the 1994 midterm elections. We've had Soccer Moms. We've had Joe Sixpack. But who will be the iconic voter of 2006? Who will the successful candidates have to win over?

As Zoe and others have been pointing out, anti-incumbent feeling is running high. Since the GOP has majorities in both houses, and especially since the most visible incumbent (though not up for re-election, of course) is Dubya, anti-incumbent overlaps to a pretty significant degree with anti-GOP. Even more so when you consider that anti-incumbent means unhappy with the way things are going, and the sources of most people's unhappiness--the Iraq war, for instance--are GOP-identified.

The problem is that this group of voters, who may be pissed off enough to show up in sufficient numbers to approach a 1994-style power shift, don't fall into one race or sex. There are plenty of angry white men (e.g., me) among them, but Angry White Men doesn't capture the group.

Yet "voter" or "constituent" doesn't have the same punch as "man" or "mom." I tried Reality-Based Voters, but that isn't very catchy. Other possibilities are too obviously not neutral for the media to use: Non-Insane People, for instance.

I decided we needed something that captured the pissed-offedness of the 1994 voters, but in a lefty kind of way. And then I thought of Paddy Chayefsky, whose most famous line was in Network: "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this any more!"

So: the Paddy Chayefskys? Or Paddy Chayefsky voters? Somehow, I think I'm onto something.

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