Apr 26, 2016 · 2 minutes

You have to hand it to Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei. It takes real skill to write a Wall St Journal op-ed as simultaneously vapid and infuriating as the one published this morning.

In it, VandeHei calls for the establishment of a new, third political party to represent the views of “normal” America, which is a dog-whistle if ever I heard one.

I have spent the past two decades in the Washington, D.C., bubble—the heart of Establishment America—covering politics and building a company, Politico, focused solely on politics. But I’ve also spent a lot of time in my hometown of Oshkosh, Wis., and my adopted hometown of Lincoln, Maine, two blue-collar towns in the heart of Normal America.

Here are my two big takeaways: Normal America is right that Establishment America has grown fat, lazy, conventional and deserving of radical disruption. And the best, perhaps only way to disrupt the establishment is by stealing a lot of Donald Trump’s and Bernie Sanders’s tricks and electing a third-party candidate.

Yeah, let’s give “normal” America a candidate modelled on two white guys whose supporters have been accused of, in one case, extreme racism and, in the other, casual sexim.

But that’s far from the worst of it. The worst of it is when VandeHei reveals his outside the box suggestion for who should lead his new “normal” party: Mark Zuckerberg or Sheryl Sandberg.

Take it aWei, Jim…

Right now, millions of young people are turned on by a 74-old-year socialist scolding Wall Street; millions of others by a reality-TV star with a 1950s view of women. Why not recruit Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or Sheryl Sandberg to head a third-party movement? Maybe we can convince Michael Bloomberg to help fund the movement with the billions he planned to spend on his own campaign—and then recruit him to run Treasury and advise the president.

Put aside the fact that Sandberg has already come out in favor of Hillary for 2016, VandeHei’s suggestion makes no sense when compared with his own suggested policies. To wit…

The way to win is to rail against Big—Big Business, Big Media, Big Government, Big Establishment.


Exploit the fear factor. The candidate should be from the military or immediately announce someone with modern-warfare expertise or experience as running mate. 


They can tolerate uncomfortable truths. But they have to come from someone comfortable in his or her own skin.


And finally…

I will even throw out a possible name for the movement: The Innovation Party. Who is against innovation, especially when winning campaigns are almost always about the future?

Good luck, Jim!