The protests are part of broader theme of class warfare, which might help President Barack Obama in next year’s election, said G. Terry Madonna, a pollster and political scientist at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Still, Wall Street isn’t likely to supplant voters’ primary focus on jobs and the economy.
“No doubt there is genuine concern about ‘Wall Street Greed,’ ” Madonna said in an e-mail. “Unless the economy turns around — translation: the job picture improves, confidence in spending is restored, and folks think their personal finances will improve — it won’t be a significant factor in the re- election campaign.”
Another challenge facing demonstrators is their lack of a focused agenda, said Meyer. As events began in Manhattan, organizers aimed to get Obama to establish a commission to end “the influence money has over our representatives in Washington,” according to the website of Vancouver-based Adbusters.
On the ground, protesters have been less unified, with demands that ranged from increasing taxes on Wall Street and the wealthy to ending global warming.
“There’s certainly a potential for starting a movement, but right now it’s just a series of events and a holder for all different causes,” Meyer said. “You have people talking about ending global capitalism, and that doesn’t poll well.”
What are your thoughts?