The one indisputable triumph of Occupy Wall Street

And the million-dollar question: How vital are the actual protests now to the prominence of OWS issues?

Topics: War Room,

The one indisputable triumph of Occupy Wall StreetAn Occupy Wall Street protestor in New York (Credit: Andrew Burton / Reuters)

Dylan Byers has run the numbers in Nexis and calculated that mentions of “income inequality” in news coverage have increased by more than 500 percent since the Occupy Wall Street movement began. “Whatever the objectives of protesters involved in Occupy Wall Street, they have succeeded in engaging the country in a conversation about income inequality,” he writes.

This sounds right, and it speaks to something I wrote about last week: Before the past few months, the national political dialogue seemed dominated by spending cuts and deficit reduction — not job creation, not tax fairness, and not the general shrinking of the middle class. OWS is not the only major development that has brought these issues to the fore — President Obama’s push for jobs legislation and a millionaires’ surtax has certainly played a major role, Elizabeth Warren’s viral video didn’t hurt — but the conversation does seem much different now than it did over the summer. This is an obvious victory for OWS.



It also raises a question: How necessary is the continuation of the physical protests to the continued prominence of the issues surrounding income inequality? There’s some urgency to the question, because as I wrote last week, conservatives do seem to be making progress in turning swing voters against the demonstrations, playing up reports of violence, mayhem and lawlessness. At the same time, the issues that are most identified with OWS continue to poll quite well. And now, thanks in part to OWS, they’re actually being discussed and are poised to feature prominently in the 2012 race.

The risk here is that lingering protests, with their inevitable clashes with police and civic leaders, will give the right an easy way to distract from the discussion of these issues in the months ahead. Then again, it’s also possible that the national conversation will regress without the daily, physical reminder that the occupiers represent.

Steve Kornacki

Steve Kornacki writes about politics for Salon. Reach him by email at SKornacki@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @SteveKornacki

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>