The discontent of the vast majority of Americans is finally making itself apparent. The immediate target of the movement seems to be Wall Street, but its broad focus encompasses more. “We are the 99%” placards appear over and over, indicating the discontent also aims at the grossly unfair situation that has developed over the past decades. While one percent of the population have grown wealthier and wealthier, the 99% majority of Americans have been left behind, and even slid backwards. Hard work used to lead to a better future. A college education used to open opportunities. Now, many Americans sense that is no longer true, and that has generated a mood of anger. How will this mood among the electoratate express itself in the coming election?

The progressive agenda is in synch with the agenda of the vast majority of Americans. This agenda includes the following: withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq; raise taxes on the wealthiest one percent; and establish universal health care. Polls consistently reflect the fact that the vast majority of Americans want to see this agenda enacted, yet neither the GOP nor the Democrats seem interested in following through on these basic, obvious actions.
Obama is attempting to harness the dissatisfaction of progressives by putting himself at the head of the Occupy Wall Street movement, demanding Congress pass job-related legislation. Of course, progressives realize Obama is attempting to push buttons in order to get re-elected. His interest in the progressive agenda during the past three years has been tempered by a readiness to compromise with the GOP, a readiness that has resulted in giveaways that should not have been necessary.
The GOP seems shockingly tone deaf to voter dissatisfaction. They denounce tax raises for the richest one percent as ‘class warfare’ and seem incapable of recognizing the increasingly desperate plight of many citizens, especially the younger ones who recently graduated, went into debt with college loans, and now cannot find work. The GOP seems incapable of recognizing that many citizens feel class warfare is being waged, not by them, but upon them.
In terms of presidential politics for the GOP candidates, this inability to recognize what is happening with voters spells trouble for their party. Mitt Romney continues to be the front runner, but his “corporations are people, my friend” formulation could not possibly run more counter to the electoral mood. His poll numbers continue to hover in the 20’s, with little change even as the other candidate flavors of the month come and go. The latest flavor, Herman Cain, came out with this beauty: “”Don’t blame Wall Street. Don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.” And that pretty well sums up the Republican attitude towards voter dissatisfaction. It may represent an honestly held belief, but it a belief which will not find much support among angry voters.


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