It was James Carville, a campaign strategist for Bill Clinton in 1992, who first said, “It’s the economy stupid”. This inadvertently became a campaign slogan in 1992 even though Carville made the comment in private. Those words have never been truer than they are today. President Clinton was able to build a thriving economy in the 1990’s, but only for those who were educated and able to enter into a booming Internet industry; other communities were left behind. Today our economy works in the same way. Globalization, the advancement of technology, corrupting money in politics, and supply-side economics have created an economy that works for the few.
Congressional District 1 is currently experiencing a time of prosperity, but trickle-down economics has failed us and led to stagnant wages and a decline in opportunity across America. Within Congressional District 1 we have seen an increase in gentrification, an escalation in the cost of housing, a broken healthcare system, and growing dissidence. The system is broken.
Donald Trump played an old political trick on America by stoking racism and bigotry to explain the economic oppression of communities across America. The truth is our issue is a top-down problem as opposed to an issue between working people. There is certainly racism, bigotry, and sexism in our society, but the economic oppressions handed down from a broken system are the greatest problem facing America. Donald Trump’s decision to use racism and bigotry alludes to his personal feelings of white supremacy. However, it is also tough to imagine a billionaire exposing economic injustice because he has benefited greatly from the unjust system. During the 2016 GOP debates, Trump exposed how he used his wealth to finance campaigns and control the politicians for his own prosperity; he is an example of a person who has manipulated and profited from our broken political and economic structures.
Racism and bigotry is a tool used to keep the working and middle class divided. If we refuse to unite against these broken systems then we will continue to be silenced politically and oppressed economically. The left has now found itself engulfed in their own struggle with race and gender, but are we playing into the hands of oppressors? There is a scheme to keep America divided in order to continue to enslave us economically, and there are those who represent the left who also have a vested interest in perpetuating a political arrangement that ensures the continued wealth and power of the few.
We must find a day to join together and reclaim our political voice and finally push this country to live up to our ideal of the American Dream. This will only occur when we decide to stop looking at each other with distrust and suspicion. That’s when we will finally build a meritocracy and an economy that works for all people. If we continue to wage wars of judgment on one another then we will all continue to be oppressed.