It’s not a secret that America’s middle class is suffering. Working class wages continue to decline while the top 10% sees greater gains every year. On top of the increasing wage gap, the wealthiest Americans are gaining more and more political power, creating an elite bubble around those in power, disconnecting them from rest of the country.
Congress has been crippled by the influence of outside money creating a system serving only in the interest of the largest donors. The issues facing the middle class are largely being ignored leaving voters feeling betrayed and looking for representatives that will actually represent their voice. The candidates that will dominate the 2018 election cycle are the candidates that are serving the best interest of the people, and proposing actual substantial policies aimed at addressing the needs of the middle class.
Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were the only two candidates that actually paid attention to the wants and needs of the people and didn’t take money from wealthy donors. Bernie Sanders created a grassroots political movement that was ironically being deterred by the same corruption motivating the movement and inevitably lost to Hillary Clinton. His ideas flourished and continue to gain momentum coming into the midterms. In fact, according to numerous polls conducted by The Huffington Post, Bernie Sanders remains the most popular politician in the country.
Despite being the far superior candidate, Clinton bothered many voters as they felt she embodied the same corruption and elitism plaguing politics and Trump was able to snowball this fear into enough votes to win the electoral college. His victory signified a drastic backlash towards politicians who sell their power for greed. Trump ended up getting corrupted anyway by his own staff and his ignorance.
Just as a Clinton victory seemed like the inevitable outcome, a Democratic takeover of Congress is said to almost be set in stone. But instead of capitalizing on the energy behind Bernie Sanders, the elite within the democratic party have turned their back on him leaving progressives feeling alienated from the party. According to USA today, some progressive groups have gone as far as pleading with the establishment to “stop attacking us”. This rift has only made democratic powerhouses like Joe Manchin to seem un-electable to the progressive wing of the democratic party with Manchin’s approval rating dropping by 17 points since the 2016 election.
The political conversation in America has quickly become belligerent and radicalized; however, this is a product of the infighting among politicians and is not truly representative of the ideological difference between many Americans. Truthfully, the people have more common ground than Washington wants to let on. In fact, according to a gallup poll, 72% of Americans support a minimum wage increase and roughly two out of three Americans say they support more strict gun control laws. We have more common ground than we realize. The world is slowly beginning to turn toward progressive values.
All things considered, it seems the public support for progressive policies like medicare for all, increasing the minimum wage, getting dark money out of politics,and tightening gun laws is growing. These policy positions combined with refusing corporate PAC money will be the cornerstone of the successful campaigns this November and will be the deciding factor in which party is able to make the greatest gains. The midterms will be a blue wave, but not the same type of light blue the democratic party leadership wants. Instead, it will be a deep, fiercely progressive blue.