The grass roots are the ultimate "bottom" and they have more bottom-up power than perhaps any time in history. But they can be influenced, aggregated, coalesced and whipped up by top-down powers, forces and entities. Top-down groups that thought they had control of bottom-up groups and energies will more and more find that they have created powerful new coalitions that they have little or no power over. It's unlikely this will stop top-down organizations from creating, encouraging or exploiting these groups. But it will, or at least should get them to change their expectations and the way they handle these forces of nature that are no longer in their control.
That doesn't seem to be happening with the Republican party today. It may be because the forces of wildness-- Limbaugh, Beck, Palin and their imitators-- have become more powerful than any of the top-down leaders, like Michael Steele, who in some ways, has echoed the sentiments and messages that have emerged from the grassroots teapartiers.
What happens when the bottom causes the top to adopt its ideas and issues? Sometimes craziness, but sometimes democracy, and maybe even elected officials actually representing the true interests and concerns of their constituents. Or those elected officials could just represent the loudest voices. That's also a bottom up consideration. Squeaky wheels will always get the grease.
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