Sanders: Trump won by tapping into anger at establishment economics, politics, & media
THE STANDARD BEARER of the US centre-left, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, has pledged to challenge president-elect Donald Trump with a parallel left-wing anti-establishment platform.
Sanders, the self-described “democratic socialist” who gained over 13 million votes in his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Trump’s success was the result of a backlash against the country’s establishment and its economic inequalities.
Post-election polls found that Trump expanded his party’s support among lower income voters – and crucially swung the post-industrial ‘Rust Belt’ states of Pennsylvania and Ohio, and is narrowly ahead in the still undeclared Rust Belt state of Michigan.
“To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.” Bernie Sanders
Sanders has pledged to reach out to those voters who demand a change in the economic system – as well as confront the “racist, sexist, xenophobic” attitudes of Trump that threaten to divide the US even further.
Sanders, in a post election statement, said: “Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media.
“People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids – all while the rich become very much richer.
“To the degree that Mr Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him.
“To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.”
Sanders was the great hope of the American centre-left in the primaries season, considered a candidate who could tap into the country’s anger and divisions from a progressive perspective.
While exit polls pointed to a key working class swing to Trump in key states, national results found that those on lower incomes were more likely to have supported Clinton. There was also a giant racial divide with the Hispanic and African American communities backing Clinton.
However Hillary Clinton, an established political figure across the past three decades, was elected instead – and ultimately defeated by the gaffe prone and abuse-strewn campaign of Trump, which included attacks on Muslims, Mexicans, and various high-profile women in public life.
The victory of right-wing populism is not isolated to the US – given Ukip’s celebration of Brexit in the UK, and the growth of the French Front National, and the pending presidential candidacy of far-right Norbert Hofer in Austria.
Picture courtesy of Phil Roeder
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