Friday, January 27, 2012

2012: The #Occupy Election?

Last fall, attention quickly turned to the Occupy Wall Street protest/encampment that (at least temporarily) radically reshaped civic life in Lower Manhattan... And then the thousands of supportive Occupy protests that arose all over the country. Soon, we were talking about "The American Autumn". And then, all of a sudden, by November they seemed to lose steam and close up shop (either due to inclement wintry weather or by police force). At the end of last year, I was wondering how #Occupy would reemerge in 2012.

Now, we have our answer.

Inequality. Fairness. Cracking down on CEOs. These could be hand-painted slogans on Occupy movement signs.

Or they could be the takeaways from President Obama’s latest State of the Union address and his subsequent tour across several swing states. In yet another sign that the Occupy movement’s call for a focus on the income gap has solidified Democratic messaging, the President’s first big political moment of 2012 has a decidedly Occupy Wall Street tinge. [...]

“I think you can empirically say that [Occupy] has brought the issue of income inequality and basic fairness into focus in a way nothing else had for a long time,” the strategist said. “But as for the President, he has been saying the same things about fairness and rules of the road that everyone has to follow, for a long time.”

Think about it. Especially since last fall, President Obama has been talking more about economic inequality. And this subject has become front and center on voters' minds. And progressives finally seems to have a common theme to rally around.

Oh yes, and it also helps that as Democrats have (re)discovered the message of the 99%, the G-O-TEA has embraced the "mystique" of the top 1%.

Furthermore, there’s an increasing focal point for these messages: Mitt Romney. True, the polls done on Newt Gingrich’s negatives are such that most Dems go to bed at night dreaming of running against the former House Speaker. However, in their heart of hearts most believe it’s just not going to happen, and that Romney will emerge as the nominee. Even a few months ago that thought caused some to tremble: after all, at that point Romney’s path to the nomination apparently ran through taking down Rick Perry and his tea partying talk on Social Security, then presenting himself to the public as the moderate who’d taken on the extremists within his party and won. As it panned out, Romney’s had to run increasingly to the right, and the fact that he tallies so perfectly with OWS’s messages about economic unfairness is the icing on the cake. Don’t expect to see Democratic bigwigs donning Guy Fawkes masks, but do expect to hear their rhetoric draw nearer to that of the protestors.

Remember this?

And remember: Mitt Romney said that while he was here in Nevada to pander to TEA-nut extremists.

And especially as 2012 has begun, Mittens keeps reminding us why he's "Mr. 1%". Even his fellow G-O-TEA contenders are using matters of economic justice to attack Mittens!

Perhaps Occupiers weren't able to convince the Reno City Council to pass their resolution rebuking Citizens United, but they may end up influencing something far bigger: this year's Presidential Election. Again, matters of economic justice are now at the forefront of national discussion. And especially here in Nevada, we need answers on these questions. And at least thanks in part to The 99% Movement pushing to redirect focus onto economic inequality and economic justice, we may finally get them.

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