That has left space for other concerns, with the national attention fracturing and diversifying as the unemployment rate has drifted down. According to Gallup, Americans are now ten times more likely to cite immigration as the most important problem than they are to cite the gap between the rich and the poor. They are six times as likely to cite race and racism as they are to cite wage issues. They are six times more likely to say that bad leadership is the central problem, versus jobs and unemployment.
The good economy has also allowed for a tremendous amount of progressive policy-making and idea generation on the left: There’s oxygen in the room for big, wild proposals on prisoner re-entry and student loans and child poverty and universal basic incomes, not just on healthcare and taxes.
The national debt has quite simply vanished as a topic—vanished! On the first night of the debates, it came up only in passing, when Senator Amy Klobuchar mentioned an immigration bill that would draw it down. On the second night, it came up only in passing again, whereas the student loan crisis came up a dozen times.