Poor people ignored in presidential debates

BRATTLEBORO — I may be wrong. But I believe we got through the presidential debates without ever hearing the word “poor.”

With occasional exceptions like Lyndon Johnson, politicians stick to talking about the middle class: their virtues, their problems, how we're failing them, etc.

They don't talk about poor people because it would cost them white votes. Though many more whites than blacks live below the government's poverty line, “poor” for many whites conjures “black.” And whoever it is that comes to our minds, racist or not, poverty is unpleasant to think about. Besides which, there isn't much we could do: “the poor ye have always with ye.”

This is another of the several reasons most poor people don't vote: they know they are poor, and the poor, politically, aren't in the game.

It's good to be concerned about the middle class. But our leaders need to speak about those who aren't middle class, never were, and, if not acknowledged, never will be.

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