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So much for the political revolution. In 2016, everything old is new again.


So apparently Iowans are fed up and frothy and about to dismantle American politics as we’ve known it, upending the tired status quo of at least one party and possibly both.

What exactly does this mean? It means they might caucus overwhelmingly for a Republican candidate — Ted Cruz or Donald Trump — who vows to cut yet more taxes, scale back government and get tough with our enemies. Or they might choose a socialist — Bernie Sanders — who would raise taxes, restore regulations and expand entitlements.

Good lord! We haven’t seen this kind of radical experimentation since Major League Baseball decided to institute “throwback day” and make every team dust off its uniforms from the 1970s.

(Just by the way, White Sox: They were bad then, and they’re worse now. How about next year you scour the closet for something that doesn’t make you look like a bunch of Oreos with legs.)

The truth is that when it comes to challenging orthodoxies, the insurgents on both sides are way more retro than they are radical. And that may be why, no matter what transpires in Iowa Monday, they’re destined to come up short.

Oh, I know, now I’m going to hear the wails from all quarters. Sanders is going to start a political revolution! (We know this because he says so.) Cruz is the modern George Washington, riding in on horseback to remake the country! (We know this because Glenn Beck says so. Seriously, he does.)

And I’m sure that to a lot of their supporters in Iowa and elsewhere, all of this sounds very disruptive, as they say at TED Talks. None of the college kids who pack Sanders’ rallies can be expected to remember George McGovern or Walter Mondale, or even Al Gore. A lot of the tea party leaders I’ve met seem to think American politics started with Alexander Hamilton and then skipped, more or less, to Jim DeMint.

As a society, generally speaking, we now consider all modern history that isn’t trending on Twitter to be ancient and disposable.

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