Occupy Wall Streeters Aren't Republicans—Or Democrats
Attention, 2012 candidates: When it comes to party affiliation, 70 percent of Occupy Wall Streeters label themselves "independent."
We've had to rely on pundits and Flickr photos in order to approximate the makeup of Occupy Wall Street—until now. Fast Company just released an infographic charting the results of a survey from OccupyWallSt.org, the protesters' unofficial online hub. The results prove once and for all that while it's a movement fueled by progressives, Occupy Wall Street isn't wedded to the Democratic Party. The numbers are the clearest proof yet that the protesters are disgusted with politicians in general, not just Republicans.
GOP presidential candidates have had a range of responses toward the burgeoning movement. Mitt Romney said that class warfare is "dangerous," but then admitted he was just trying to "occupy the White House." A few have even expressed support—Ron Paul called the movement a "legitimate effort," and a lesser-known GOP candidate, Buddy Roemer, even live-tweeted the October 11 march in downtown Manhattan. (Needless to say, their solutions to the grievances likely differ from the protesters'.)
But many, like Herman Cain, have had doled out some harsh words. Cain called the protesters "un-American" and "jealous," and told some Arkansas protesters to "get a job and a life." He also said the demonstrators were trying to deflect attention off Obama's failed policies. But according to the OccupyWallSt.org data, almost three-quarters of protesters don't support Democrats. Unemployment, health care, and the wealth gap are issues that cut across party lines. While "independent" is often code for Republican-lite or fiscal libertarian, this data hints at a different kind of independent voter—one that's left of the Democratic Party and hasn't been given much of a voice since President Obama was elected.
This chart should serve as a reminder that the protesters aren't interested in propping up one party in favor of the other. They're interested in changing the priorities of our leaders—who, donkey or elephant, have favored business over people for far too long.