Many people say, “How could I embrace those awful Trump voters?” Here’s the thing. I honestly think we’re talking about a small percentage of Trump voters when we say some are incouragable. Seriously. Take a step back and think about it. A huge number of Trump voters (including people you and I know), are not part of that small set of people we see at Trump rallies. They’re not rabid racists. In fact, they’re not any more racist than you or I or any other typical American. And they agree with many progressive ideals.
– They are against globalist trade deals that ship millions of jobs overseas and hollow out the middle class.
– They’re against politicians being bought off by big corporations and they’re for campaign finance reform.
– They’re frustrated by these stats and the real world results they bring:
According to a study published recently by CBS News, 78% of workers in America are now living paycheck to paycheck. And each year that percentage is increasing. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/americans-living-paycheck-to-paycheck/?ftag=CNM-00-10aac3a
A study by the Atlantic found that 47% of Americans were economically insecure and couldn’t come up with $400 in an emergency — per The Atlantic: “The Secret Shame of Middle Class America.” https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/my-secret-shame/476415/
Nearly 50% of children in the U.S. live below or near the poverty line — per Columbia University School of Public Health study: https://www.mailman.columbia.edu/public-health-now/news/nearly-half-american-children-living-near-poverty-line
20 individuals now have as much wealth as the poorest 150 million Americans (half the country) — per The Nation magazine: https://www.thenation.com/article/20-people-now-own-as-much-wealth-as-half-of-all-americans/
They’re tired of seeing the narrow group of corporate interests and the super rich represented while the interest of regular people are not.
Now we can blame them for believing in false promises. We can certainly blame them for sticking by someone who is so clearly and severely flawed in all the ways we are all so familiar with.
But what we can’t blame them for is the impetus and the instinct to elect someone who promised to change the order of things in a country where the elected leaders (democrat and republican) spend an inordinate amount of time hobnobbing with hedge fund managers, bankers and Wall Street execs and representing their interests while only paying lip service to the interest of regular folks (yet still expecting those regular folks to vote for them).
People are tired of being talked down to and taken advantage of. They’ve watched the middle class be decimated by political leaders who are owned by corporations and the wealthy.
We badmouth populism but populism is not bad in and of itself. In fact, we badmouth populism because corporate owned media TELLS us populism is bad (because it represents a power that is a threat to unbridled corporate gain).
These are things that many people around the nation (left and right, Trump voters and progressive voters) agree on. 20 people have as much wealth as 150 million of us — half the nation! Nearly half of children live near or below the poverty line. 78% of American worker are living at or near the poverty line. This is the world that corporate globalist neoliberal policies championed by corporations and the politicians they own on both sides of the aisle) have resulted in.
There are certainly many many many many many many many many differences between the Democratic Party and Republican Party. We’re all familiar with them so no need to create a long list. I acknowledge and celebrate the ways that we Dems are “better” in so many ways in so many issues.
What I think we need to become more familiar with, however, are the ways we democrats and republicans are similar and have been working together on corporatist policies that benefit the few at the expense of the rich.
– Mass incarceration was championed as a part of Bill Clinton’s presidency in effort to triangulate and win suburban votes.
– Ending of Glass Steagall (which many economists agree helped lead to the 2008 financial crisis) was championed under President Clinton. This kind of deregulation and alignment hurt millions of us. Someone never recovered from the 2008 financial crisis. The award-winning documentary “Inside Job” shows so well that this was a crisis created by Wall Street and enabled by political leaders on both sides of the aisle doing the bidding of big corporations by championing deregulation.
– Regime change wars (so costly and deadly) like the War in Iraq are championed by both republicans and democrats (look at the votes). Over a trillion dollars spent on the folly of the war in Iraq. Over 5,000 Americans killed and tens of thousands wounded or permanently disabled.
Austerity, privatization, deregulation are destructive forces around the world and they are promoted by corporations and the politicians they own. Citizens around the world are rejecting that. They see the results of it. They see the middle class being hollowed out. They see the stats I listed above and their families are truly struggling. This is not theoretical to them.
So we can’t discount that frustration. We can say that people fell for a false populist leader who took advantage of the situation.
But we must look in the mirror and realize that it is our Democratic Party leadership’s behavior and votes that drove blue collar workers and other voters into the arms of Donald Trump. And if we don’t understand that, we will lose again in 2018 and 2020. We can’t let that happen. We need to win over the false populist. But we’re not going to do it by continuing to allow our party leadership to, in some ways, be the lap dogs of their huge corporate campaign donors. Americans see right through that.
The choice of a Donald Trump by many blue collar workers says more about us than it does about them. It shows we left them no choice because our leaders were clearly often just the other side of the corporate coin.
This is not an overstatement. And it does not negate all the good that we Democrats have done, do and will do. In fact, it is precisely because we have such an important role to play that so many are frustrated that our democratic leaders are undermining that good work with policies that put people and the planet last and corporations first. We have so much good to do, but the policies our leaders have quietly championed with republican leaders are wrecking the country and the environment. We are in a climate emergency and an economic emergency that are the result of the narrow interests of corporations carrying the day again and again in the legislative and executive branch.
We need to win in 2018 and 2020. There’s so much good we can do. But first we are going to have to be honest with ourselves about the damage our leaders have done.
Rank and file democrats are not responsible for any of that. It’s our leadership that has taken corporate $ and championed corporate interests while paying lip service to blue color workers and others, expecting their vote without representing their interests. Americans have had enough of that crap! They see it. It’s in plain view on both sides of the aisle.
That’s why false populist leaders can win favor. We drove our own base into their arms. It’s amazing it didn’t happen sooner.
The only way to combat this is to run REAL populist leaders, not corporate lapdogs who are great talkers and know how to placate the poor and middle class.
We Dems are better than this! We have a long legacy of hugely positive policies. It’s time to emerge from the corporatist neoliberal dark alley we wandered into in order to get campaign cash. The people will support authentic political leaders. Let’s stop kidding ourselves. Let’s stop deluding ourselves and thinking no one else sees this.
We need to live up to the ideals our party champions. Once we do so in an authentic way, once we start to truly champion the interests of people and the planet over the narrow interests of huge corporations, we will win! It will be a brand new day. And we have the power to make that happen if we stop blaming others for making desperate choices.
Instead of criticizing them for it, let’s offer them REAL choices with an authentic populism. That’s how we will win, not by clinging to corporate centrism and pretending we are doing everything so well. We aren’t. And that’s how Trump got elected.
***** Here it is in living color. CHECK THIS OUT. “The Most Destructive Policy Most Have Never Heard Of”: