Between Donald Trump’s unexpected surge to Bernie Sanders’ surprising poll lead in New Hampshire, the politics of the 2016 U.S. presidential election are proving to be nothing like what we were told to expect. The dynastic Clinton versus Bush contest that was preordained by traditional media and the establishment wings of the major parties is looking anything but certain. This can be explained, at least partially, by Internet-powered disruption of traditional political kingmakers (i.e., media and party elders) as another DisCo commentator, Matt Schruers, has cogently observed.
I am not talking here of disrupting the two-party system itself or making Congress a less polarized and more efficient forum, nor about red states and blue states. Instead, I will focus on five more subtle trends that are emerging in this election cycle, beginning with the rather remarkable Republican presidential debate on Fox last week.