If Salena Zito’s theory is right, which I’m betting it is, DC elites will badly misread the American people:

Late this summer, along the edges of this Mountain State town, a homemade sign jutted from the edge of a country road. It read, simply: “Change is coming.” A few miles west, toward Coopers Rock State Forest, another sign almost hidden by a cornfield read, “Change is in the air.”

DC elites have tried holding onto tired incumbents or tried running candidates that sound like the Washington insiders that created this mess. That’s why Joni Ernst’s campaign is doing well in Iowa. That’s why Cory Gardner’s campaign is going well in Colorado. That’s why Tom Cotton’s campaign is going well in Arkansas.

Colorado’s Senate race is just stunning: Congressman Cory Gardner is the best candidate the Republicans have in the field, despite being pounded for nine months by incumbent Democrat Mark Udall. In fact, Gardner’s image has only gotten better — he lifts people up, he’s an optimist and happy to be a conservative; in contrast, Udall’s campaign is malpractice.

Joni Ernst in Iowa is a strong candidate for Republicans. Yes, she’s conservative, but her personal strength is what independents like most; she is proof that the GOP can fix its problems with female candidates and voters. Tom Cotton in Arkansas is serious, smart, disciplined, and part of the next generation of Republicans who run on what they have done, not on shrill ideology.

Democrats have spent their money on shrill-sounding ads attacking their opponents as a) shills of the Koch Brothers, b) waging a war against women or c) both. They’ll turn out their progressive base but they won’t win a majority of independent voters.

It is a sign that has been waving in the weeds for more than a year, since the 2013 scandals involving the IRS, the Department of Justice and the Department of Veterans Affairs started rolling out. But it appears that this administration, Democrats in general and Washington’s political class kept driving past those signs and missing them.

This isn’t just about Democrats, though they’ll get hit the worst this November. I wouldn’t say that people hate Republicans but I’d say that they want to see Republicans become the party of sane-sounding solutions.

They want a political party that respects the rule of law. They want a political party that limits government’s authority to reach inside their lives. (Just ask Catherine Engelbrecht on that. Just ask Andy Johnson and his wife about overly intrusive government that doesn’t respect private property rights.)

The general sense is that Washington exists to serve itself, not the people back in their districts or their states. Obamacare is the perfect example of that. The Democrats wanted it so badly that some progressive politicians were willing to vote for it even if it cost them their jobs.

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