It is partly true that misery will motivate voters. It is also true that even in today's environment, about 700,000 people voted in the Nevada election, or something less than 30% of the population. So Harry Reid's ground game, buttressed by union organizers bussed in from across the country, have a great and significant effect.
For many psychological, political and structural reasons, people do not see voting as an answer, nor do they tend to feel empowered. That the tea parties have made a dent in those perceptions at all is a testament to the times.
But even in isolated cases, the organized political machine can withstand a generally populist movement. Sure there are general trends in a political race. There are also practical strategies and tactics that must be acknowledged. To think a new comer was going to take down a progressive king pin and the resources he can bring to bear was somewhat naive. Execution can trump a great deal of philosophy in any situation, especially politics. It could be argued it is the definition of progressive success in the last 80 years.
Which brings me to what I consider the most strategically important tactic free marketers could make to combat Progressive ideology: immediately privatize education. It is where the beast lives and organizes, all on the public teat.
Of course privatization would improve education while driving costs down by an order of magnitude. But those reasons pale in the face of the fundamental issue killing our society; our kids are going to 'religious socialist' schools until they are 30, foregoing decades of emotional and economic maturation, their minds filled instead with guilt, narcissism, and a simplistic and destructive view of society.
It is my view that professors, better known as Progressive priests, would find their theories unworkable in a privatized university where integration with the private sector is by practicality used as a method of defining successful jobs for graduates.
The hallowed ground of the Ivory Tower has long ago gone off the reservation, their studies in the darkened tomes of socialism and economics and sociology long ago divorced from reality, their narratives now a swan song to the voices they find in each others' heads.