It might just be.
There is a strong argument to be made that today looks much like it did three years ago when I studied the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Americans are still dissatisfied, disaffected and discontent with the government and the way our country functions.
Average Americans strongly believe that the system is rigged against them. According to a new Pew survey, 62 percent of Americans think that the economic system unfairly favors the powerful and 78 percent think that too much power is concentrated in too few companies.
And though June’s employment data brought good news – the economy added 288,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent, its lowest level since September 2008 – majorities of Americans still think the country is on the wrong track. The newest Rasmussen figures show that 67 percent of those surveyed think the US is on the wrong track, while a mere 26 percent think its headed in the right direction.
Continuing a decade long trend, the most recent NBC News/WSJ poll painted a bleak picture of American attitudes towards President Obama and Congress.
The President’s favorable/unfavorable rating stands at 41-45 percent. And a majority of Americans (54 percent) no longer think Obama is able to lead the country and get the job done.
A Quinnipiac poll found that a plurality of voters – 33 percent – think that Obama is the worst president in the post war era.
The Republican party’s favorable/unfavorable rating is at 29-45 percent and the Democrats aren’t faring much better. Their favorability is only at 38 percent.
According to the latest YouGov/Economist poll, only 9 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing with 72 percent disapproving. And a mere seven percent of the country has confidence in Congress as opposed to 29 percent for the presidency and 30 percent for the Supreme Court, per Gallup.
Against this backdrop, it comes as no surprise that voters desperately want the opportunity to change the political system and break the cycle of perpetual gridlock.
The midterm elections represent a rare opportunity for independents to mount viable campaigns that capitalize on voter disgust with Beltway politics.
A record number of Americans identify as independents. The latest figures from the NBC News/WSJ poll have it at 42 percent. And although independent candidate still trail Democrats and Republicans in the generic ballots, there are a few independent candidates who could play a significant role in shifting the balance of power in this country.
Eliot Cutler is running for governor in Maine on a platform to grow Maine’s economy and add jobs driven through investment in agriculture, infrastructure, tourism and human capital development. He’s focusing on improving quality of life in Maine, and on making the state attractive to young people and businesses through tax reform and top-notch education. Cutler openly criticizes the failed policies of the Left and Right that have left the state lagging behind the rest of New England. He refuses to take any money from PACs.
The former mayor of Honolulu, Mufi Hannemann, is running for governor of Hawaii as an independent to appeal to voters across the political spectrum. Hannemann said, “I think clearly people are not happy with the way both major parties sometimes push folks to accept party platforms – or the rigidity of party platforms – either having to appeal to the far left or the far right. I’ve always been a moderate. I’ve always been a centrist. I’ve always been independent.”