What is the universally accepted definition of the "middle class?"

Following the U.S. presidential campaign, I am struck by the way both the Republicans and the Democrats claim to represent and be concerned about the "middle class" without ever defining who belongs to that prized group. The result is that everyone regards themselves as "middle class," as if it is somehow "lower class" to be part of some lesser-regarded group. It's easy to claim you represent a group if you never define who actually fits into that group. Is it possible to represent all those in an undefined group when that group who believes they are middle class may range from minimum wage workers to doctors and lawyers, business owners, stock brokers, etc.?

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