David Brady argues that the welfare state structure and generosity are what strongest impacts poverty. For the welfare state to be strongly in favor of the poor requires a strong Left. Left is defined here as left political parties (socialist, social-democrat, and labor) and unions connected with the left. I would also argue that for the US organizations and movements dedicated to working to improve the situation where classism, racism, and sexism intersect will be important.
We also have to look at the reality that unions in the US tend to support a center-right party instead of left parties. Some people argue that the trick is to take over the Democratic Party and make it a left party. This seems to just accept the structure as is.
In most "winner take all" electoral systems there is a tendency to reduce to two parties. In theory we could have benefited from a right and left party. Instead the US has developed two right parties. Supporting Democrats with real left values is important and not enough.
Working toward proportional representation will be important. This can start with Instant Runoff Voting. This is not openly proportional representation. It does allow, however, for a voter to vote for their real interests without fear of "wasting" their vote.
Brady showed that the two things that influence the strength of the welfare state are a strong left and proportional representation. While there are some of us who have drank the "rugged individualism" kool-aid, not all have. We need to build these two institutions and also keep fighting on issues as possible.
Ultimately it may be that the goal is not to focus solely on issues. We will need to focus on changing systems. Learn about and promote Instant Runoff Voting! This will allow voters more choice and create political options.
We may have to start city by city. That is better than waiting for the right "change" candidate to come along. No one person can move the system. It will take all of us.
Amor y Rebeldia!