Today's Question Blog

What does ‘the establishment’ mean to you?

Cruz rallies supporters
Ted Cruz, pictured here at a 2013 rally in Washington, D.C., enjoys support from the Tea Party, one of the strongest anti-establishment forces in the past few years.

"If you can't figure out what the establishment is, the political philosopher Jack Black has a good definition," writes Danielle Kurtzleben

"You don't know the man? Oh, well, he's everywhere. In the White House, down the hall," he rants in the movie School of Rock. He adds, "And there used to be a way to stick it to the man. It was called rock 'n' roll."

This idea is at the core of what establishment means in the 2016 presidential race, according to one (actual) political analyst.

"It's kind of what we used to call 'The Man,' when you are against The Man," said Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of the Rothenberg and Gonzales Political Report. "The establishment has become 'The Man.'"

No one wants to be the square who hates rock 'n' roll. And no one wants to be "establishment" in the 2016 presidential race. Hillary Clinton quickly distanced herself from the label when Bernie Sanders used it against her in the last presidential debate. Republican Jeb Bush only grudgingly accepted the label.

"Fine, I'll take it," he said.

That's too bad for him. As political strategist Mark McKinnon told NPR, this is the most anti-establishment race he has ever seen.

In fact, here's how he defined "establishment": "The measles. A disease. A political disease."

Today's Question: What does 'the establishment' mean to you?

Volume Button
Now Listening To Livestream
MPR News logo
On Air
MPR News