Voters are fed up, a sentiment neither novel nor earth shattering, I know.
Contrary to popular belief however, Trump wasn’t elected by extremists alone; nor was his presidency simply a backlash to our first black president, Barack Obama.
No, it’s far more complicated than that. Most things usually are.
Sure, we can argue for another four years why America elected Trump, suffice it to say, many got exactly what they voted for. Those looking to upend a government, long deemed a failure, were more than happy to burn the house down. During the insurrection at our nation’s Capitol last week, that’s pretty much what they tried to do.
Yes, Donald Trump trampled laws and shattered norms. Yes, he appealed to racist, bigoted, and xenophobic supporters. He enraged Democrats, while shredding decency. Donald Trump was also the anti-politician, a backlash against an establishment, on both sides of the political divide, which had long forgotten the very people they were chosen to represent.
That’s exactly why Democrats, and Republicans for that matter, need to finally deliver for the American people.
Faith in democracy, in elected officials, in the very purpose of a federal government, are all on the line.
The time is now
What do I mean by deliver for the American people? Despite our differences, nearly two-thirds of Americans agree on a range of issues. Either through legislation, or eliminating barriers, politicians are compelled to give the majority of Americans what they’ve long been asking for.
1. A living wage
While Trump won Florida by a couple percentage points (51% –49%), that same sate voted to approve a $15 an hour minimum wage by a 60–40 margin. That’s right, red Florida agreed with Bernie Sanders on this one. On a national level, two-thirds of Americans (67%) support a $15/hour federal minimum wage.
2. Affordable health care
Every year politicians promise cheaper, better, healthcare; and every year, without fail, prices rise. The logic to decrease costs is always the same; increase competition, negotiate the cost of drug (via Medicare), and improve price transparency for medical procedures. All of which are promised, sure, but never fully implemented, or quickly removed. A public option seems long overdue, a majority of Americans, two-thirds to be exact, support this as well.
3. Tuition-free Public college
Continuing along the line of the two-third majority, can you guess what 63% of all Americans support? If you said tuition free public universities, go ahead and give yourself an A+.
Two-thirds of Americans are also in favor of decriminalize marijuana. There are now only six states where weed remains illegal, with the other forty-four as well as Washington D.C, allowing for medical or recreational use.
Slightly less than two-thirds (60%) are in favor of stricter gun laws; with near consensus agreement (91%), to prevent anyone with a mental illness from purchasing a weapon, and (88%) requiring background checks for any and all sales.
6. Climate change
In what I promise will be my last mention of a two-thirds majority, 67% of Americans believe the federal government is doing too little to reduce the effects of global climate change.
In elections, 60% and above is practically unanimous
I could go on, but you get the point. The American people don’t agree on much, they’re not dentists after all. Getting two out of three to agree on anything is quite remarkable.
Perhaps now, more than ever, even more issues exists with universal consensus.
Does any American, or global citizen for that matter, believe corporations should have this much influence and power over our lives, let alone politics?
Europe has sued Google for monopolistic behavior, they have also filled suit to collect taxes owed by Apple, while considering similar actions against Amazon and Facebook.
Has anyone (with the exception of Jeff Bezos) woken up and thought, “I wish Amazon was bigger”? Has anyone (other than Mark Zuckerberg) said, “I wish Facebook had more power and influence over people’s lives”?
In the words of my favorite failed presidential candidate (Kanye West); no one man should have all that power.
Google, Apple, Twitter, we could go on listing companies which have disproportionate impact over our lives and political discourse; yet pay close to nothing in taxes.
In 2018, Amazon paid -1.2% in federal income tax, Netflix paid -2.5%, and they’re hardly alone.
Here’s an idea for our political establishment; stop telling Americans they can’t have affordable healthcare, college, or a living wage, all while showering the most powerful companies on earth with more money and even more power.
It really is that simple.