In an interview with Rolling Stone, rock legend and American icon Bruce Springsteen ripped Republican nominee Donald Trump for undermining the integrity of our democracy and for unleashing the undercurrents of white supremacy into mainstream American politics.
When asked what his thoughts on the Trump phenomenon were, he gave this nuanced and eloquent response:
Well, you know, the republic is under siege by a moron, basically. The whole thing is tragic. Without overstating it, it’s a tragedy for our democracy. When you start talking about elections being rigged, you’re pushing people beyond democratic governance. And it’s a very, very dangerous thing to do. Once you let those genies out of the bottle, they don’t go back in so easy, if they go back in at all. The ideas he’s moving to the mainstream are all very dangerous ideas – white nationalism and the alt-right movement. The outrageous things that he’s done – not immediately disavowing David Duke? These are things that are obviously beyond the pale for any previous political candidate. It would sink your candidacy immediately.
I believe that there’s a price being paid for not addressing the real cost of the deindustrialization and globalization that has occurred in the United States for the past 35, 40 years and how it’s deeply affected people’s lives and deeply hurt people to where they want someone who says they have a solution. And Trump’s thing is simple answers to very complex problems. Fallacious answers to very complex problems. And that can be very appealing.
It is indeed a tragedy for our democracy. The most important part of democratic governance is ensuring the public believes that our politicians are held in check by the will of the people – and the behavior of the Republican Party over the past eight years has been to erode that confidence in our electoral system through their efforts gain unfair advantage by repressing the votes of minorities and gerrymandering districts to ensure their political security.
At the same time, their single-minded devotion to increasing the political power of the monied elites and funneling the wealth of the American people to the top 1% has greatly exacerbated the costs of deindustrialization/globalization, while studiously denying the existence of those costs in the first place.
Donald Trump is the epitome of that excess, the wealthy man who has spent his entire life exploiting and extorting his way to wealth who has now turned to cheap ethnonationalist scapegoating as a way of shifting the blame for the economic frustrations of the working class off of predatory capitalists like himself and onto minority groups.
“The Boss” also gave a resounding endorsement of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, saying that he thinks she would be a “a very, very good president.” Springsteen’s words remind us all of what’s at stake in this election, and why it’s so critical that we defeat Donald Trump at the ballot box this November.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.