As the 2016 campaigns move forward the battle lines are becoming quite clear if one is watching closely.  As always, the campaign(s) will be won on economic terms.  This year voters couldn’t have a clearer choice.

The underlying theme that has moved voters into one camp or the other can be boiled down to national sovereignty.  When candidates talk about immigration or a “fence” they are showing their commitment to our political/physical sovereignty.  Can we have a nation without borders as some suggest?  When we hear candidates saying we need to stand up to foreign competition for products in trade deals they are showing their commitment to our economic sovereignty.

Without borders that can be controlled and defended, we have no nation…we only have a location.  The same is true for economic sovereignty.  If we are merely a piece of a larger economy, our prosperity is, in part, determined by others.  Many Americans thought and in fact still think: We are in charge of our own prosperity.  Now they are waking up to realize that we have lost some of our political sovereignty and much of our economic sovereignty.

This one issue, sovereignty, is where the battle lines are forming in both parties.  The players in this battle are the “Washington Cartel” versus “grass roots” voters.  The Washington Cartel has the money and power but we, the grass roots, have the votes.

The Washington Cartel is my preferred way to refer to what many call the establishment.  I prefer Washington Cartel since there are many in the seat of power (establishment) that are fighting for the same things the grass roots wants…jobs and a sustainable economy.  To be clear, my reference to the Cartel is meant to refer to the unholy alliance, within both parties, between Big Government, Big Business and Big Media.  Our Founding Fathers knew of the dangers of such an alliance and gave us a constitution to protect us.  It is time for us to step up and demand that the constitution be followed.

I believe the grass roots that are flocking to Cruz, Sanders and Trump are saying it is time to break up this Cartel and shift the focus from the power elites to a focus on the needs of the middle class and the nation as a whole.

As things stand right now, here are the candidates that have revealed where they stand:

Cartel/Globalist Candidates                      Grassroots/Sovereignty Candidates

Bush                                                               Cruz

Christie                                                          Trump

Clinton                                                          Sanders

Kasich                                                            Huckabee


You may notice I left out some outsider candidates.  This is primarily because they haven’t revealed themselves as to whether they are globalists or standing for national sovereignty.  The eight mentioned above have.  In fact, Bush, Kasich and Rubio all stated their support for TPP during the Republican debated this past Thursday.  Christie has said her supports it in previous public forums.  Clinton has conveniently said she opposes TPP but we all know she supported it prior to entering the campaign.  Trump and Sanders are the most vocal regarding their opposition to TPP.  There is no doubting their sincerity.

It isn’t clear which candidates from each camp will survive all the way to their respective conventions and whether the conventions will be cordial or contentious.  One thing is clear: The grassroots are as energized as we have ever seen them and independents will play an even larger role than normal.

If Trump or Cruz make it to the convention you can bet it will be to the dismay of Republican power brokers, and be assured there will be intense anger if they do anything to overturn the will of the voters.  Ditto Sanders and the democrats.

Many see a much more cordial situation on the Democrat side.  I do not.  Bernie Sanders has gathered up most of the “grass roots” voters on that side.  These folks are also demanding attention to our economic sovereignty and may not go along with a Clinton candidacy.  With passions this high, it is possible that many of the Sanders supporters will end up moving over to Trump if he gets the Republican nod or vice versa.  The Donald and Bernie have the same message on jobs and trade….get tough with trade cheaters and restore middle class American jobs.

In a previous posting, I mentioned that the middle class is now a minority in America.  However, it is still a huge voting bloc.  Most independents are moved by the economic messages of Trump and Sanders.  Independents can vote in the New Hampshire Republican primary so this will test my premise.  If Trump and Sanders bring in large numbers of independents in this primary, look for them to be unstoppable all the way to the White House.  If they don’t, your guess is as good as mine.

Whatever the outcome, the anger over outsourcing middle class jobs and hollowing out of our production capacity won’t go away.  It will increase until the middle class thrives again, income is more balanced and the American Dream is restored.  If the two existing parties can’t do so, we will have either a third political party or continue our slide toward a third world economy and nation.

Frank Shannon served in the U.S. Army, was an engineering/operations manager for AT&T for 27 years, was the owner of a small manufacturing business for 23 years, served as Colorado Chair of the Coalition for a Prosperous America and moved to Mesquite in 2013.