Two major grassroots movements arose during the Obama presidency: Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party. What many people overlook is the ironic fact that these two movements, seemingly at opposing ends of the political spectrum, emerged because their supporters were irate about the same things, namely the self-dealing, corruption, and crony capitalism they viewed as rampant in the leading institutions of society, including both major political parties.
It didn’t take long for these frustrations to be directed at Washington. One of the movements gave rise to Donald Trump while the other gave rise to Bernie Sanders, who very well could’ve been the Democrats’ nominee if the party’s establishment hadn’t gone all-in for Hillary Clinton.
In November, enough voters embraced Trump to hand an Electoral College victory to this unorthodox candidate who tapped into that palpable frustration and questioned longstanding positions of both political parties.
Trump won by talking directly to those Americans who struggle each day with the socioeconomic consequences of misguided government policies. In contrast, in her newly released book "What Happened," Clinton acknowledges that she utterly failed to connect with those voters.
We don’t fully know how Trump is going to govern over the next three-plus years, but it’s clear that in the eight years before the Trump presidency, no one in the White House listened to those of us intent on advancing true free enterprise and American exceptionalism.
Indeed, when the Tea Party wave put a conservative stamp on Congress, the White House blocked its agenda. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has an opportunity not only to influence policy, but to help the skeptical public understand how good public policies can help impact their lives for the better.
Over the past year, many elected officials have become more confrontational and less cooperative, hence the initial failure to overhaul Obamacare and move ahead on other reforms. More people are choosing to argue when their time and energy could be better spent trying to get positive results.
At The James Madison Institute, we see an opportunity to influence policies and work with members of the Trump administration. We’ve participated in several briefings with Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price. JMI’s Vice President of Policy Sal Nuzzo has been to the White House to discuss criminal justice reform. We’ve also provided the administration with insights on how to repeal and replace Obamacare – insights gleaned from our experience here in Florida.
We Americans now have an unprecedented opportunity to work together in favor of policies that advance liberty and empower the free market, improving our economy while creating quality jobs. Our elected officials should do the same. Assigning blame gets us nowhere. It’s time to put aside the divisiveness and find common ground. The American voter has demanded it.
Dr. Robert McClure provides expert perspective on current issues facing our nation and his home state of Florida, the third-largest state in the nation and a policy bellwether for the country. Recently named one of the Most Influential People in Florida Politics, Dr. McClure serves as the President and CEO of The James Madison Institute, Florida’s premier free-market think tank. He is a frequent commentator on television and talk radio programs and has lectured nationally on diverse policy issues. Dr. McClure has been published numerous times at both the state and national level on topics including property rights, tax policy, health care, and education reform. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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