The game is afoot
Examine the below gem, which made the waves in media yesterday:
Out of the blue, prominent Trump surrogate Bannon has claimed that GOP is now a working class party.
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This is despite Trump has broken all election promises which he made to the working class ranging from bringing back jobs to healthcare reform, and even having implemented a tax break for his billionaire friends.
“You all just got a lot richer,” President Donald Trump told guests at his private club, Mar-a-Lago, in 2017 after he signed The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The massive tax bill was marketed as an act of financial relief for the middle class. Instead, multiple experts alleged, then and now, it disproportionately benefits the wealthy.
And on top of that even having hurt the small farmers who he was supposed to protect – all thanks to his trade war with China.
“Please put an end to these trade wars as soon as possible.”
That’s Lodi apple farmer Jeff Colombini’s message to President Donald Trump. While Trump claims his trade war antics only inflict pain on other countries, farmers like Colombini beg to differ. Their voices are getting louder.
“More than a year into the trade dispute, sales of American soybeans, pork, wheat and other agricultural products to China have dried up as Beijing retaliates against Mr. Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports,” according to the New York Times. “Lucrative contracts that farmers long relied on for a significant source of income have evaporated, with Chinese buyers looking to other nations like Brazil and Canada to get the commodities they need.”
So how can Bannon even claim that GOP is a working-class party despite actual reality, and right at this moment which seems totally out of the blue?
That is because Trump is preparing to copy UK’s Tory Party playbook and lie to get working class votes, seeing how that playbook was very successful in UK elections on 14 December 2019, less than a week ago when Bannon made this declaration.
Working class votes win the day
Trump advisers have noticed the crushing election victory of Conservatives in UK, and they want to duplicate their success. This can be only done by copying UK Tories’ playbook and adopting policies which appeal to working class voters, or at least, just appearing to do so.
Even in 2016 elections, getting the votes of Rust Belt by subverting them from Democrats was essential to Trump’s win. Now, on top of that, today polls show that pro-people working class policies are popular with the electorate.
A new poll finds that, among 1,115 adult respondents living in the United States, 2020 Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders is “the best” on several particular issues, including healthcare, the environment, immigration, the economy and jobs.
Conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Reuters between November 1-4, the poll asked respondents to “select the candidate from the list below you think is best on that particular issue,” with Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker available as selections. Among independents and self-identified Democrats (these questions were not asked of Republican respondents), Bernie Sanders was the preferred candidate in every policy category, which included “immigration,” “health care,” “the environment” and “the economy and jobs.”
Poll respondents were asked if they strongly or somewhat favored or opposed several proposals that 2020 candidates on both sides of the aisle are supporting. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) wealth tax got the biggest backing, with 68 percent of poll-takers saying they favored the proposal, 45 percent of them strongly. Trump’s promise to build a wall along the U.S.–Mexico border meanwhile got 44 percent support, with 52 percent voicing their opposition.
And that one above is among Conservative voters to boot.
These mean that working class votes will have more traction in 2020 than before, and they may award a crushing victory to anyone who adopts them.
In UK, it happened. Appealing to working class voters did won pro-business, free-market oriented Tory Party a crushing election victory.
The Conservative Party won 365 seats, giving them a majority in Parliament of 80 — the largest majority they have secured since 1987, when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister.
Tories were able to do this by winning over working class voters by standing firm on Brexit, which was favored by working class, and by directly copying pro-people policy positions from opposing Labour leader Corbyn’s working class oriented program. In order to compete with Labour, Tories copied various policy points ranging from ramping up socialized healthcare service NHS and not privatizing it to ending crushing austerity programs. This allowed them to get working class votes from entire country, but most importantly flip key constituencies to win a crushing majority.
However, without a week passing after the election, they are falling back on all of their promises.
And the situation is not something technical and obscure either – even the public is aware of how Tories turned 180 degrees after the election.
But the critical catch is that, Tories were able to win working class voters by lying about working class policies, despite they are a pro-business, market oriented party which crippled working class before. What’s more important, is that they were able to do this despite they lied before in the same manner.
This means that even if a politician or a party appeals to working class voters by lying to adopt working class policies, it works.
Trump is going to do precisely that, and is going to tear apart into every single potential Democratic candidate and lambast them for being elitist, and anti working-class. In a race in between posers and liars, the better poser who can lie better, wins. The only ones who would be bulletproof in such a race, would be the honest ones with proven track record of trustworthiness.
This brings an important conclusion:
Only Bernie Sanders can win against Donald Trump
Bernie Sanders has a decades long and trustworthy track record filled with pro working class policy advocacy and working class policies implementation. Which has been in public consciousness even as early as 2016.
Sanders is the king of credibility in the 2016 campaign because no matter how the question is posed, and no matter whether it is party members or all voters who are polled, Sanders leads all Democratic and all Republican candidate when it comes to honesty, trustworthiness or net favorable/unfavorable ratings.
Think about it: In an age of anti-establishment fervor, at a time when RealClearPolitics finds that Congress is held in disapproval by between 75 and 80 percent of voters, Sanders has achieved spectacularly positive numbers on matters of honesty, trust and favorability that are not matched by any Democrat or Republican running for president, or a Congress that is held in disrepute by more than three-fourths of the American people.
To top that, he is the original politician who re-popularized working class politics.
“What it means is that working people are sick and tired of being exploited, of not seeing any pay increases, of having to pay more and more for the health care that they get. I will tell you what really impressed me is the action taken by teachers in so-called ”red” states all across this country: Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and elsewhere. We saw that, and now we’re seeing workers all over the country beginning to stand up to corporations. Just the other day, I was on the picket line with UAW workers outside of Detroit, and they’re taking on the greed of General Motors, who have billions of dollars to provide for stock buybacks; who gives their CEO [almost] $22 million dollars a year in salary compensation; who are outsourcing jobs. They have the money and the ability to do all that, but they can’t take good care of their workers.”Bernie Sanders in response to ” What do you think the ongoing strike wave that we’ve been seeing since 2018 means for the future of the working class? “
So much that master’s theses were written on his working class credentials.
This thesis is the story of Bernie Sanders, the Socialist Mayor of Burlington and his campaign for Governor of Vermont in 1986. The campaign is used as a prism to explore his version of socialist politics and policies within a capitalist state. The policies which Sanders developed in this campaign for lowering property taxes for middle and lower income people, increasing social spending, increasing citizen participation and raising the taxes for wealthy people and corporations are examined in detail. Sanders claims that city governments can work for poor and working class people, however this thesis demonstrates the difficulties leftists have in getting elected and in implementing policies whenever they do win. In conclusion, I examine the questions about left participation in the electoral process, the autonomy of the state, and what socialist municipal and state policies should be.
Those are top notch, unassailable working class credentials.
And they are also the reason why Donald Trump is avoiding picking fights with Sanders on social media since a long while, despite Sanders’ repeated jabs at Trump’s anti working class policies, despite Trump has no hesitations tweeting away and ranting against every single prominent Democrat politician.
Trump wants to avoid appearing too anti-Sanders, which would mean appearing anti working class policies.
Which would make it more difficult to claim to be a pro working class politician when election kicks off.
So even before elections start, even during the primaries, solid working class credentials and pro working class policy history, combined with honesty and trustworthiness gives the upper hand to Sanders and Democrats over Trump.
Other candidates than Sanders appear pretty weak against Trump
Biden says nothing will change if he gets elected. He advocates all the past policy positions of last 30 years. He doesn’t even hide his corporate connections and billionaire support.
Longtime Biden supporter Larry Rasky, one of the people involved with the big-money effort, is the founder of lobbying firm Rasky Partners, which is currently registered to lobby on behalf of Raytheon, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and the Republic of Azerbaijan, among other clients.
His track record is far worse.
1 – Biden was in the forefront of tough-on-crime policies of the 1980s and ’90s that resulted in epidemic mass incarceration, leaving many of those convicted of nonviolent felonies permanently disenfranchised and unable to support their families. He authored the Violent Crime Control and Enforcement Act of 1994, which allocated $97 billion for new prisons and provided for a federal three-strikes law that helped fill them. Earlier this year, the candidate expressed regret for these law-and-order policies—especially for his role in establishing harsher sentences for crack than for powdered cocaine, penalties that disproportionately punished African-Americans.
2 – He backed the landmark 1996 Clinton welfare reform bill, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, which trimmed entitlement rolls but increased child-poverty rates. The bill was a key part of the Republicans’ Contract with America, and it has been criticized for pushing welfare recipients into low-wage jobs and fraying the social safety net.
3 – Biden spearheaded the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act, which made declaring bankruptcy cost-prohibitive for the lowest income debtors, leaving many in economic purgatory – unable to pay their debts and rebuild their credit. Banks and credit card companies, like Delaware credit card issuer MBNA, one of Biden’s biggest lifetime financial backers, had clamored for the legislation, arguing that debtors were gaming the system. (MBNA was acquired by Bank of America in 2006). According to University of Pittsburgh economics professor Stefania Albanesi, who studied the bill’s effects, the law offered a solution without a problem. “There was little evidence there was [bankruptcy] abuse,” she said.
Not only there is no way Biden can mobilize Independent, working class and young voters and get them out to vote, but also Trump would tear him apart when Biden tries to claim to be pro working class. And all of these before Hunter Biden – Ukraine case.
Warren is too chummy with corporate interests. She doesn’t hesitate from saying she would accept corporate and billionaire money.
Her past record is even more damning.
In her speech to Republican aligned Federalist Society, she lambasts working class for their poverty, and blames retirees for pension funds going bankrupt due to corporate bankruptcies. Moreover, she made her money in real estate by preying on working class people.
Indeed, she has a flip flopping past. She lies about her past, as can be seen from above incidents, and even her policies. Trump will dig deep. Warren cant escape that.
Buttigieg doesn’t even pretend to care about working class.
His past is even worse – as a mayor, he bulldozed working class neighborhoods to prop up real estate investors’ profits.
Satirical news site The Onion puts this in the best way it can be put:
There is no way Buttigieg could even cope up with Trump on any working class policy positions. Worse, against him, Trump can even pander to Black and Latino voters.
Rest of Buttigieg’s career track is even worse.
So, Biden, Warren, Buttigieg out…
Aside from those, no other candidate has enough traction to win
Tulsi Gabbard is the only candidate who could not be framed as a corporate candidate, and her working class policy positions could not be torn apart by Trump. But polling shows she is unlikely to win.
Democrats can win with Sanders
To win over Trump, Democrats must unite behind the most solid candidate with unassailable working class policy positions and decades long track record of honesty, integrity and reliability.
Donald Trump is already preparing for a campaign based on appealing to working class voters. Democratic Party can cope up with that tactic and win over Trump only by nominating a solid pro-people candidate that gets support from working class.
This election is important, even critical. Not only it will define the next decades of US, but also it will set the direction which public discourse and political power will go.
Cost of losing is too big
Cost of losing is too great even for corporate democrats, economically and politically. Trump already openly reviles various prominent politicians in Democratic Party and numerous pro-people politicians and activists. He repeatedly says that this or that politician should be persecuted and jailed. He makes no secret that if he could do it, he would do it.
He may just end up being able to, however – he already seeks to remove term limits.
Trump has a mobilized, energized and fundamentalist voter base, who already deify him and are willing to act against anyone who shows as target.
The word that tends to be commonly associated with Trump in evangelical circles is not “president,” however. It is “king.” Using numerology arguments, evangelical leaders like Lance Wallnau argue that the 45th president is a modern-day version of the King Cyrus described in Isaiah 45, a Persian emperor the Bible says was anointed by God to free the Jews.
Evangelicals also compare Trump to the biblical figure of King David, particularly when the uncomfortable issue of his frequent adulteries comes up.
These may appear as far off or tangential to actual politics. One may be erred to think that the usual mechanisms of the state ranging from judiciary/police to military would prevent the political will Trump being exercised as he wills, how he wills.
However on the ground things are not so clear. Trump has considerable militant support among the forces which are supposed to uphold law and order, on top of his armed, militarized and extremist civilian power base.
And Donald Trump is aware of the clout he has among these forces. And GOP is aiding him.
Another win, what’s worse, a considerable victory, would give Trump not only the political clout to persecute opposition, but also the give the galvanization which his power base would use to persecute and target anyone who does not fit with their worldview, or even outright commit terrorism and kill people.
Such a persecution could range from legally going after the businesses and assets of the Democratic Party aligned rich and prominent rich Democratic Politicians, even legally persecuting the personas themselves, to outright fascist repression of opposition using more direct methods. Therefore, the danger is real even for corporate and rich Democratic politicians and supporters, leave aside working class voters and progressives. All that is necessary is for Trump to win again, better, win with a noticeable margin, and feel that his support base is galvanized enough.
But Democrats can prevent that
Democrats must unite behind a proper pro-people, pro working class politician who is honest, trustworthy and has a bulletproof track record. That candidate is Sanders.
They must adopt at least 4-5 key policies, and they must never compromise. Any compromise will be used by Trump as giving in to corporate interests, and it will give him the upper hand.
Compromising working class policies cost Labour the election in UK. Corbyn was pressurized by Labour centrists to adopt various policy positions to appeal to corporate interests and centrist voters. Among these was a renewed referendum for Brexit, to which a large segment of working class voters was opposed. Corbyn adopted this new referendum policy due to immense pressure from centrists and the corporate media, ending up losing them a large segment of working class voters in key constituencies.
Two years later they were decimated and humiliated. The Brexit policy in 2019? To pander to the centrists and offer an undemocratic and alienating second referendum.
It does not take a genius to work out where Labour went wrong this time. Ian Lavery, Labour Party chair, made this abundantly clear when he stressed that the decision to offer a second referendum proved fatal to the party.
Thus, it is bizarre and disingenuous to suggest that Labour should be rushing back to the centre-ground, considering it was the one middle ground and compromise policy in their entire manifesto which cost them the election.
And to compound matters, when traditional Labour voters did flee, they did not go to the centre, rather they flocked to the far right. The current political terrain is akin to a hectic motorway. You pick a side and drive in that direction. Dithering in the middle gets you obliterated. The fact that all the centrist MP’s who defected from Labour or the Tories – from Luciana Berger to Anna Soubry to Chuka Umunna – lost their seats, and the sole middle ground party in the UK, the Liberal Democrats, decreased their number of seats, reinforces that there is no deep yearning for centrism to return.
Amazingly, despite similar pressure, conservative Tory Party did not compromise on any working class policy position, or Brexit – a position possible thanks to the capacity provided by having adopted lying as a policy. However still, they didn’t pander to centrist voters in any manner of speaking, and won a major victory.
Trump will do the same.
Losing is not an option for Democrats. They must win. They must win for themselves, for working class, for future generations, for all Americans.
And the way to win is electing the honest, reliable candidate with unassailable track record, Bernie Sanders.