Bernie Sanders has a powerful and prescient warning for everyone who voted for Donald Trump thinking he’d be a champion of the working class: pay attention. Why anyone would think a scheming manipulative billionaire would fight for the rights of the workers in the first place is a mystery, but in the aftermath of his election it has become indisputable that Trump’s administration will serve the same constituency Republicans always do: the 1% and their corporate monstrosities.
Everyone who voted for Trump, who thought he'd defend working people, pay attention to the reality of what he's doing not just his rhetoric.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 9, 2016
Trump claimed he would “drain the swamp” of corrupt corporate influence-peddlers. Then he appointed more Wall Street executives to positions in his cabinet, including chief economic advisor, than any president in history. He claimed he would force corporations to pay taxes if they outsource jobs. Then he granted United Technologies $7 million in tax break to ship 1,300 jobs to Mexico. He claimed he would stand up against corporate conflicts of interest. Then he appointed a shipping magnate as transportation secretary, a Goldman Sachs executive as economic advisor, and an Oklahoma attorney general who is suing the EPA as head of… wait for it… the EPA. He claimed his would be a government of and for the people. Then he assembled a cabinet with a net worth of close to $15 billion and growing, more than any cabinet in history. He promised to ease the pain of everyday working Americans. Then he proposed a tax plan that would hike rates for the working poor and slash them for the ultra-rich. He claimed he’d defend American democracy against tyranny. Then he collaborated with the Kremlin to hack the election and vowed to cuddle up to the despots in Moscow.
Anyone who hasn’t realized by now that Trump’s championing of the working class was nothing but manipulative populism at its very worst is either not paying attention or living in the Trumpist bubble far removed from reality. But that doesn’t mean we should stop trying to reach them and building a true movement for the American workers. It is far past time for the American people to heed Sanders’ call and examine Trump’s policies without the din of the rhetoric. The only logical conclusion to be reached is that Trump is just as much a tool of the oligarchy as his Republican rivals.
James DeVinne is a student at American University in Washington, DC majoring in International Service with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a founding member of Occupy Baltimore and interns at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.