Sounds like the Ancien Regime doesn't it? The aristocrats and people connected to the court were protected until suddenly they weren't.
Unfortunately, the "suddenly they weren't" part is about bloody, horrifying revolt. I'm not exactly looking forward to that.
Yep, this could get very messy. Under that scenario I'd expect the protected to continue blithely on or to act to defend their positions if they notice that the peasants are getting a bit stroppy. Either of which pumps more energy into the system. Then, eventually somebody realizes this isn't working and tries to ease up. At that point they quickly lose control of all that stored energy.They've been pumping energy into it for a while now. It's close but I don't think we're quite at the point of an uncontrollable explosion yet.
I don't think so either. Things will have to get alot worse before people will be willing to admit that they aren't going to get better. Most people still think they can vote their way out of this.