Many heated debates have arisen during this 2016 election, but one things seems clear: Voters are not satisfied.
The rise of Donald Trump has come during a time when polls show that by a more than two-to-one margin, Americans believe the country is on the wrong track.
According to Yahoo News political consultant Brian Goldsmith, traditional measures of the economy don’t tell the story:
“The U.S. economy has been growing for more than seven years. It is, in many respects, the envy of the world. Under President Obama, federal deficits have been cut by more than two-thirds. Home prices have rebounded since the crash. The old ‘misery index’ combining unemployment and inflation rates—the measure that defined politics for much of the 1970’s and 80’s—is at historic lows.”
So what gives? Goldsmith says the mood is so sour for a number of reasons, including:
Flat wages: Average family income is about what it was in 1980 and most workers haven’t gotten a raise since 2000. Plus, credit–which they used before the 2008 crash to supplement incomes (particularly borrowing against homes) is not nearly as accessible today. Meanwhile, while the official unemployment rate stands at 4.9%, the “real” figure that considers a participation rate that stands at a 30-year low, is arguably higher.
Washington dysfunction “There’s a profound sense in the country that there were real villains, evildoers, that hurt the American people during the 2008 financial crisis. And they weren’t punished,” Goldsmith says. Meanwhile, continued images of government shutdowns, threats of default, and endless partisan bickering fuel the sense that nothing gets done in D.C.
Changing face of America: “Demographic changes are deep and profound” says Goldsmith, highlighting that by 2044, we are going to be a majority minority nation for the first time. “A lot of people, particularly white working class people, haven’t felt economic gains over the last generation and they feel less comfortable with the new face of this country.” Some argue this manifested itself to some degree in the birther movement which helped fuel the rise of Donald Trump, Goldsmith says.
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