By Dom Nozzi
January 27, 2017
For the entire 2016 US Presidential election season, a great many folks on the Left (and Right) who were understandably disgusted by Donald Trump thought – wrongly – that the way to stop him from being elected was to constantly attack him as a horrible person. He’s a liar! A misogynist! A racist! A moron! An egotist! An unstable person! A fascist! The worst presidential candidate ever! An out-of-touch billionaire!
But with all due respect, it turns out that many of those who screamed those things – and CONTINUE to scream those things after he was elected – are the ones who are out of touch.
Both the Republican Party AND the Democratic Party have become so corrupted by Wall Street, Corporations, the Military-Industrial Complex, and Big Pharma that they have turned their backs on the many people in America who are hurting for jobs (both the unemployed and underemployed) and income.
The Republicans have a long tradition of engaging in this sort of corruption. But now the neo-liberals – lead by such folks as Bill Clinton — have convinced the Democrats to take the same path. The neo-liberals decided that they would be better Repubs than the Repubs. Neo-liberals would adopt the same economic, criminal justice, and military objectives as Repubs, but would be more supportive of women’s rights and environmental protection.
The neo-liberals (which includes Hillary Clinton and those who supported her in the primaries) took the working class for granted, and assumed such voters would be trapped into voting for the Democrat. All they had to do was point out how HORRIBLE Trump was as a person. Identity politics would lock in a victory.
But the strategy utterly failed.
Trump realized that the key to being elected was to appeal to the working class. To speak to them in ways that appealed to the pain they are feeling.
Trump attacked NAFTA and TPP (while Dems such as Hillary and Obama supported such agreements). The working class HATES those agreements. Trump promised to bring jobs back to America and impose punishing rules and tariffs on nations taking American jobs and importing foreign goods to America. That is music to the ears of the working class. Trump promised to be an “outsider.” A tough-guy superhero (like Arnold Schwarzenegger) who would be strong enough to stand up to the people and nations who were taking American jobs and income.
As much as the Left dislikes this, calls by Trump to build a wall on the Mexican border and deport immigrants and weaken environmental regulations all can sound appealing to people looking for a job.
In the end, the fact that Trump is a horrible racist or sexist or liar or moron matters far less for a huge number of Americans than the fact that it appears he cares about bringing back American jobs and income, and appears to be tough enough and savvy enough to do it. Privileged Dems who have jobs and income, by contrast, cannot even imagine how ANYONE could vote for a racist, sexist moron.
Because they are out of touch with the working class.
Do the self-righteous neo-liberals realize the extreme income and wealth disparities that now exist in the US? Do they know that about half of all Americans are suffering economically? Are neo-liberals even paying lip service to these America-is-not-great conditions?
Such an out-of-touch attitude fails to recognize that needing a job and an income are far more important than the fact that a candidate is an asshole. Or the opponent is a woman.
This helps explain why Trump – the biggest clown to ever run for president – won the election. Why the Repubs won the House, the Senate, the statehouses, and many governorships.
If the Dems don’t discard the corrupt, warmongering, neo-liberal wing of their party, they will continue to experience defeats in future elections – elections they should be winning (or the Left should be winning).
Pointing out that the Repub candidate an asshole is not enough. Running a Right Wing woman won’t work in 2016.
While I support the protesting against bad Trump appointments and bad Trump policies, I do not support the Dems acting like Repubs by opposing EVERYTHING Trump proposes (such extreme partisanship ignores the fact that Trump/Repubs occasionally propose things the Left should support – such as dumping TPP and NAFTA). The Left needs to realize that it is particularly likely that Trump will occasionally support Left Wing causes because he has not been as corrupted by lobbyist dollars as have the Dems and Repubs. This is a golden opportunity, therefore, for long-standing Leftist policies to be adopted.
It is time for the Left to stop screaming about what an asshole Trump is, and get to work on either creating a new party or reforming the corrupt Dem Party.
Neoliberals need to look in the mirror and stop pointing fingers at others.
The blame for the Trump election resides with corrupt neoliberalism. Not the oft-stated claim that a huge number of Americans are racist morons. Or the Russians. Or Leftists who didn’t vote for Hillary.