“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.” 

— Pablo Picasso

Not to sound like Thomas Carlye, but American political players today are either imbeciles or Machiavellians. In our decadent age, one either stupidly believes that traditional American ideals still hold practical sway – or one shrewdly sees that American politics is a wholly corrupt game, whereby cheating seems the only way to play. 

According to a recent Rasmussen poll, the vast majority of the political elite are choosing the latter, ready to “set the murderous Machiavel to school” while seeing themselves as far too clever to play by the rules. Scott Rasmussen called his survey’s findings “the most terrifying poll result I’ve ever seen.” 

“We asked voters, 1,000 voters, to suppose there was an election and it was close, but your candidate lost,” Rasmussen recently told The Daily Signal, “And if their campaign team knew they could win by cheating and not get caught, would you want them to do so?”  

He continues [emphasis added]: 

Among voters, only 7% say they’d rather cheat than win. I wish it was 1% or 2%, but 7% is not bad. Among the elite 1%, 35% would rather cheat than win. Then among a group that we call the politically obsessed elite—people who are not only in the elite 1%, but they talk politics every day—69% of them would rather cheat to win the election.

Such a result may suggest to you that the American political system has grown dangerously corrupt. But that is far too generous. Corruption is the system. Corruption is the art of politics in practice, whereby the ruling elite make and break the rules as they see fit to fulfill their artistic vision.  

So who are these elites, anyway?  

Rasmussen explains: 

The elite 1% represent 1% of the population. They are extraordinarily influential. A heavy concentration of them went to one of 12 elite schools. The reason I bring that up is about half the policy positions in government, half the corporate board positions in America, are held by people who went to one of these dozen schools. 

Their views really play a large role in the country, and it all feeds into this elite 1%. 

They are in power centers. … 

If you’re thinking of who’s shaping the mainstream media narrative, it’s this group.

You may be just as shocked as Scott Rasmussen that the American elite are willing to admit they’ll cheat to win in 2024. You may also be surprised to find that in the same poll, “47% of the Elite 1% of American voters believe the United States provides too much individual freedom.” [Emphasis added.] 

Why the shock and surprise? The elite of this nation, even the founding generation, have never been innocent men free from vain ambition, corruption, and sin. Augustine’s libido dominandi (“lust for domination”) has yet to skip a generation.  

When the colonists threw off the British yoke, they did not free themselves from man’s depravity to man. Man’s fallen state did not cease when the bomb fell on Japan, nor when the Nazis suffered ultimate defeat. Man was not redeemed by the fall of the Berlin Wall, nor did his history of wickedness come to an end with the Soviet Union’s fall. 

Indeed, as long as political ideals have dripped from American lips, American politics has been a sordid art born of necessity and ambition. The difference in America today is that the corrupt art of politics is more crystal clear than ever before for the average man to witness – so crystalline that even the elite 1% are willing to admit they cheat.  

Why try to hide what anyone with a curious and keen eye can see? What’s the worry? What challenge could everyday Americans ever pose to the transparently corrupt political elite?  

Well, the more coldly crystallized a particular political form or fashion becomes, the more its spirit wanes – until it turns so brittle it beckons to be broken by the gentlest gust of pure wind.  

The best artists learn the rules like a pro so that they may break the rules with subtlety, precision, and expertise. But when art is reduced to a set of tired rules, trends, processes, and stratagems, it will become such an obviously fragile thing that any non-artist, any bum off the street, will possess sufficient know-how to shatter a work of art irredeemably. Brazenly and nakedly relying on political force and fraud will only sow more seeds of force and fraud in return.  

Individual virtue, imagination, and ingenuity will always win out over the rigged rules of an obvious, well-worn game; and the American political elite’s art has become pretty darn obvious. Call me an imbecile or a Machiavellian as you please, but I truly believe that with the right spirit, everyday Americans will eventually find a way to cheat the political elite out of their cheating.

Joey Clark is a native Alabamian and is currently the host of the radio program News and Views on News Talk 93.1 FM WACV out of Montgomery, AL M-F 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. His column appears every Tuesday in 1819 News. To contact Joey for media or speaking appearances as well as any feedback, please email joeyclarklive@gmail.com. Follow him on X @TheJoeyClark or watch the radio show livestream.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819news.com

Don’t miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.