30
Oct

This storm could upend American politics — if we’re lucky.

By David Rothkopf

One reason U.S. politics is almost as popular as NASCAR among American sports is that it gives the little guy someone to root for. Of course, that’s almost never the candidates of the major parties, most of whom are odious concoctions of their own egos and the corrupting forces of money and ideology. But dependably, in campaign after campaign, a character sneaks on to the stage who captivates and highlights issues that otherwise would go unnoticed or under-examined.

Whether this candidate is a big-name iconoclast like New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg or a provocative outsider like Ron Paul — who, although wrong on plenty of issues, was dependably willing to challenge conventional wisdom — these folks liven up the debate. This year it took until the very end of the campaign to introduce 2012’s biggest truth-teller. Like Beyoncé and Cher, she is known by only one name. But few if any players in the current campaign are likely to have the same impact.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Sandy.

Sandy, like many in an America with changing demographics, has overseas roots, hailing from the tropics. She rose to our attention in the south but ultimately, like so many others, she hit the big time in the northeast, and her political impact will extend well into the heartland of America, where this election will be decided. Like Joe Biden and Chris Christie, Sandy is an uncontrollable, wind-powered force of nature. Like many politicians, the first impression she may give the average voter is that she is all wet. But there is more to Sandy than meets her eye.

Sandy is a game-changer. For those of you who live far from the eastern shores of the United States, it is also worth noting that she is also a hurricane, a big one, currently cutting an 800-mile swath across one of the most heavily populated areas of the richest and most powerful nation on Earth. And in so doing, she is speaking volumes about subjects many U.S. politicians have avoided and, at the same time, she is having a major impact on America’s process of electing a president. Read more…

David Rothkopf is the CEO and Editor-at-Large of Foreign Policy, and CEO of Garten Rothkopf, an international advisory firm specializing in transformational trends especially those associated with energy choice and climate change, emerging markets and global risk.

As published in www.foreignpolicy.com on October 29, 2012.

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