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By their bumper stickers shall ye know them

Author: Dan Njegomir - November 14, 2016 - Updated: June 6, 2017

Forgive the coarse rendering of political speech depicted here; let’s hope it has been made a little less offensive by our inexpert (amateurish?) touch-up.

The point isn’t to contribute further to the incivility of this most uncivil election year; it is to illustrate what seems to be an underlying sentiment driving insurgent candidacies like that of former Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. And maybe that of Donald Trump, too?

As the nation’s media have been pointing out all year, the U.S. as well as Europe seem be awash in a rising tide of populism. Political science wonks, pundits and pollsters have pointed to widespread, simmering public resentment at perceived elites of every political stripe. That resentment has fomented an upheaval against a vague “establishment” thought to run government, business and even the political parties in which many of those who are doing the rebelling are themselves members.

And while this insurrection is to an extent motivated by specific issues and policies, a lot of it also appears to be rooted in a more basic urge simply to take down the system and start over. Just because.

This bumper sticker, which made an appearance Sunday along east Denver’s Colorado Boulevard, sums up that sentiment about as well as any campaign slogan we’ve seen. Whether it was meant as parody or as a heartfelt beef is almost beside the point. It captures what for many is an earnest repudiation of business as usual in politics. In the wake of last week’s groundbreaking, establishment-denouncing election, that should be clearer than ever.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is a blogger and opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.

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