I’ve been examining the messages coming out of the Occupy movement the past few days. I’ve discovered three subsets of people that seem to be making their voices heard. However, let me begin with “The 53%” . Take some time to really read over several of these pages. As you can see, these are Americans who pretty much have lived the bootstraps life. Some are doing incredibly well, some aren’t. But none of them are complaining.
Now, to “The 99%”. If you haven’t already seen these photos, take some time to look over a bunch of them — really take your time. Think how many groups you can place them into. I see two sets of people in these photos:
The first is a group of people who have made some really poor choices in life. As far as I’m concerned, if you are a drug addict, you made that choice. If you had 4 kids and didn’t plan for a doomsday scenario, then you shouldn’t have had 4 kids. This is the group of people who abandoned personal responsibility. Now life has taken a bad turn, and they are complaining about the results of their own behavior. Included in this group are people who went to college and are saddled with enormous debt — yet some (not all) chose a major that anyone could have told them (and probably did) would make them unemployable. You don’t spend a gazillion dollars to be a classics major and think that debt is going to be paid off anytime soon…if at all. Somebody told them to do what makes them happy, but forgot to tell them that they aren’t necessarily entitled to do what makes them happyand get paid well for it.
The second group of people are just victims of really bad luck. There are many of these stories, of which this is a good example. These are our fellow citizens who, for whatever reason, really deserve our compassion because circumstances have developed that place them in crisis. I’m going to call them The Swing Voters.
Both of these groups are identifying with the “Occupy” movement. You would expect that from the first group, but not the Swing Voters. The first group we’ve seen before, but the Swing Voters are the ones that hold the key to the future of the nation. This group doesn’t seem like it contains people who are complainers by nature. They don’t come off to me as feeling entitled. They seem more like regular folks who represent the portions of our system that are broken.
Their messaging is one of frustration and fear — bordering on despair.
This is the group that really needs to be listened to. They have legitimate complaints. They are where America is failing and the policymakers that address this group’s concerns, and can offer pragmatic solutions, will win their votes. I don’t know what those solutions are because many of the problems are wide-ranging, but this group is who we need to focus on.
These people are being co-opted by the anarchists, anti-capitalists, and anti-Semites of the “Occupy” movement. They do not feel their voices are being heard by any of the dunderheads in Washington, or in their state legislatures. If nobody reaches out to these individuals, they will swing Left. That will swing the 2012 election.
Think back to the late 70’s and Jimmy Carter and read over the famous “malaise speech”. The Swing Voters are feeling that malaise, and right now, they are expressing it by identifying with The 99%. Any other candidate that steps forward as President Reagan did, and can reclaim the confidence of that group, wins in 2012. When I first heard Herman Cain’s admonishment to the OWS crowd, I thought he said exactly the right thing. In retrospect, I think he blew a great opportunity. What he should’ve said was, “I hear you. I won’t take any money from corporations for my campaign, and instead you and I will address the critical areas where America needs reform. America is the greatest country on Earth and you are her children. She will not abandon you and neither will I. We did it thirty years ago and we can do it again”.
And you know what else? Corporations should engage in some genuine strategic retrenching. Doing so, even at short-term cost, will act as insurance for the long-term because they’ll get hammered under four more years of Obama.
Corporations need to engage in some serious crisis management regarding their public image. However, they also need to realign their corporate cultures so as to make employees feel like partners. There is also a reasonable argument to repatriate some jobs. Yes, it may mean higher labor expenses in the near-term, but consider this: If an American loses his job to somebody overseas, and doesn’t find new employment, at what point does his inability to consume at his prior level directly impact not only his former employer, but the entire nation (especially when multiplied by the many millions whose jobs have been shipped overseas).
Who are the people whose jobs are most likely to be repatriated? Who are the people most likely to benefit from realigned corporate cultures? Who are the people most likely to reassess their opinion of corporations if proper crisis communications are put into place?
The Swing Voters.
They are there for the taking, and right now, they’ve been taken by the Left.