US ruling power is in deep trouble because there are growing signs that the mass of citizens are no longer beholden to the supposed authority residing in Washington.
Once the legitimacy of would-be authorities begins to collapse in the eyes of the people, then profound political change is in the offing, as history shows us through countless empires that came and went -- often ignominiously.
The so-called American Deep State comprising the military-intelligence apparatus and its operatives in the political and media establishment has put its credibility on the line over allegations of Russian interference in the US elections.
The latest high-level intelligence report from the CIA, NSA, FBI and other US spy agencies on alleged Russian cyber hacking may have "wowed" President Barack Obama, various members of Congress and the corporate-controlled news media.
Not so for ordinary Americans. Among rank-and-file citizens the reaction has been underwhelming to say the least. And that should be a matter of anxiety for the ruling establishment. If the people can no longer be commanded, then the whole foundation for power begins to erode like a sandcastle.
As a New York Times report put it: "What's the big deal? asks Trump's supporters on Russian hacking report."
Among ordinary voters far removed from the Washington Beltway Bubble the consensus is one of derision towards the once-revered US intelligence community.
"Sore losers," "sour grapes," "crybabies" and "absurd" were just some of the disbelieving responses from ordinary folks about claims that Russian agents directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin had tipped the US November election in favor of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.
"I don't believe the [US] intel report," said one man in Louisiana. "Why is everybody so afraid of Russia? I'm not against Putin."
Another man, a retired US air force officer, added: "From the parts of the [US intel] report I've seen it seems silly."
President-elect Trump, once again, seems more in tune with the real, pressing concerns of common citizens. He emerged from his so-called "briefing" by US intelligence chiefs last Friday and pointedly refused to join the Washington blowhards accusing Russia of "an act of war." Trump in fact followed up with a comment that it was only a "stupid" person would not want to have good relations with Russia.
This was not the response that the spooks wanted from Trump. The CIA and their surrogates in the Obama administration, Congress and the media were building up the US intel report like a witch-hunt against anyone who dares to dissent from the allegations of Russian cyber interference. Unlike warmongering Congress members such as John McCain and Lyndsey Graham, Trump has not jumped on the bandwagon to demonize Russia.
And the thing is that people beyond the thrall of the Deep State centered in Washington appear to agree with Trump. At a time of immense social challenges from poverty, unemployment, financial indebtedness, deteriorating infrastructure and public services, and so on, a US policy of hostility towards Russia seems like an alien distraction. A contemptible waste of priority and resources, not to say a reckless drumbeat to war between nuclear powers.