Tuesday’s biggest primary night of the year saw relatively few surprises. Women – especially GOP women – stood tall, with the likes of Blanche Lincoln, Nikki Haley, Sharron Angle, Carly Fiorina, and Meg Whitman all prevailing in their primary challenges. One of the most shocking developments taking place Tuesday happened in South Carolina (surprise). The winner of the Democratic primary for the senate was a man named Alvin Greene.
In the year of voter angst and incumbent backlash, Alvin Greene–a 32 year old unemployed veteran– managed to do the impossible. Mr. Greene defied the party apparatus by never appearing at any Democratic function. He did not campaign. He has no college degree. He has no name recognition, and no political support. And to make matters worse, Mr. Greene has a felony obscenity charge. Yet voters still saw fit to choose this man as Senator Jim DeMint’s challenger in November. How does this happen?
Putting everything you know about politics, and the political structure aside, look at Mr. Greene through the eyes of the new disaffected American voter. On its face, the curious case of Alvin Greene is Rocky Balboa – the American underdog who challenges conventional wisdom, and rises above obstacles to achieve success. What could be more appealing to the Tea Party crowd, than an unemployed man turning the status quo on its head? Greene did not accept a penny from lobbyists, and did not shill for companies desperate for a foothold in the political process.
Taking an even closer look at this race reveals a more astonishing fact: According to the Center For Responsive Politics, the spending in congressional elections will cost 4 billion dollars in the 2010 cycle. That is an astronomical sum, almost unfathomable to the average civic-minded citizen. Alvin Greene seemingly infiltrated the rich folks club, completely re-wiring the circuits of big-time elections. So who is Alvin Greene?
If one were to think skeptically, given the previously mentioned obstacles in his way, you might surmise that Mr. Greene is a plant. You may think he’s an empty vassal, propped up and supported by Republicans in an effort to severely hamper Democratic chances in the general election. It’s an outrageous claim, but not out of the realm of possibility. How did Greene afford the $10,400 filing fee to get on the ballot? That’s a ton of money for your average working man, and he’s not even working!
But it’s almost too easy to paint this as Republican shenanigans. It’s also too easy to trace the money of such a straw man conspiracy– and if nothing else– the Republican party is too smart to engage in such a scam in today’s political climate.
So who is Alvin Greene? Maybe he’s the personification of voter outrage with the status quo. Maybe this is the strongest indication yet of average American citizens disgusted by the taint of money, and the strain of gridlock in politics. Meet Alvin Greene, the face of voter disgust.