Aftershocks from the Populist Earthquake of 2016
Our political world is feeling the after-shocks of Campaign 2016. The question now is whether President Trump and the GOP in Congress will deliver on Candidate Trump’s promises of a better deal for working middle class Americans or whether Trump’s new allegiance to the elite and the ideological conflicts within the Republican Party will do the opposite — widen divisions in American society, increase economic inequality and sharpen public demands for more basic reforms in our political system.
From start to finish, campaign 2016 was a political earthquake. As an MRI on America, the presidential election exposed deep fault lines in our society. It was not the typical polar clash of Left vs. Right, conservative vs. liberal, Republican Vs. Democrat. In both major parties, it was a mass mutiny against “the power elite.” It exposed us as nation deeply divided by money, power, and whom we trust. And those schisms persist now, with a palpable rise in civic ferment around the country. What does it pretend for 2018?
What’s obvious – and very little known to most Americans – is that political reform is on the move in at least half of our 50 states. Seventeen states and 700 cities have pushed for congress to revoke the:Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision. In 25 states, bipartisan citizen movements or lawsuits are waging war against gerrymandering – politicians stacking elections to keep themselves in office. A few states have adopted public financing of campaigns to reduce the power of MegaDonors and special interests. Another handful are trying nonpartisan primaries to help restore the moderate middle of American politics. What’s striking is that now, as in 2016, it’s We the People vs. the politicians, but so far, Washington isn’t listening.