That’s the message that voters are sending this election cycle. There’s a huge feeling of anger that’s gripping people in America, on both the right and the left. And it really explains the two candidates who are surging right now: Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Not that I’m trying to equate the two, but they both have tapped into a deep-seated frustration gripping America right now.
People feel powerless.
And in reality, they are. They have very little social or financial power right now. They’re tired of maintaining a system that doesn’t give a shit about them. They’re tired of money over people. They’re tired of not having their will represented in DC. Wherever people fall on the political spectrum, they can all agree on one thing: Washington is broken.
Both camps have radically different ideas about how to fix that, but that isn’t even the point. The point is that both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are a rejection of the donor class. They represent people who aren’t beholden to big money. Neither candidate has a Super PAC. Bernie has a 30+ year history of fighting against oligarchy and other forms of social and economic inequality. And while Trump is a member of the donor class, he’s used that to his advantage on the campaign trail: because he’s already wealthy, he isn’t beholden to anyone’s money. And his rhetoric certainly matches that assertion.
This polls says it all. 66% of Americans think that the wealthy have more influence over elections than they do. A whopping 84% think there is too much money in politics. 85% think that politicians promote policies that directly help their donors either most of the time or sometimes. The rest of the numbers are equally telling, and I encourage everyone to take a look at them. But they make one thing clear:
Americans aren’t blind to how badly they’re getting screwed.
And that should worry the donor class. It should worry them a lot. Because at the end of the day, the 1% may have most of the wealth, but they only have 1% of the votes in any election. Once people are wise to how badly they’re getting fucked over, there isn’t any amount of money that will make them un-know that. The genie is out the bottle, so to speak.
And so we have Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, who are ahead in polls as we head into Iowa and New Hampshire in a few short weeks. Both candidates represent a big middle finger to Washington and to the donor class, a fundamental rejection of the status quo. Whatever your feelings about the two, they are shaking things up (for better or worse).
No matter who wins this next presidential election, one thing is certain: the game has changed. The conversation has shifted. No longer is it about who has the most experience. It’s now truly about who will actually try to restore balance to the system. And the American people have the votes to put those populist candidates in office. Slowly they’re starting to realize that, that their vote has more power than the dollars of lobbies and Super PACS.
A check can’t pull a lever or mark a box on a ballot. And that’s the lasting legacy of this upcoming election.