Strap your seat belts on, folks, and get ready for a wild ride. The next four years are going to be rough, and as we prepare to navigate through the white water rapids of a Donald Trump presidency, We, the People are gritting our teeth and steeling ourselves for a long, hard fight. Clinton fans are crying and pointing fingers that progressives who refused to vote for their candidate handed the election to Trump. I already addressed this bogus claim in an opinion piece earlier today.
After bitterly relishing in our initial “I told you so” moment, we need to step back and let our fellow liberals and progressives come to terms with what happened. We Bernie supporters need to empathize with them, at least just a little bit. After all, we have been feeling for months what they are just now starting to feel: Anger, disillusionment, outrage, depression.
We have to give Clinton supporters time to grieve and finally accept the outcome, but after January 20, we roll up our sleeves and begin our work. No more excuses. No more finger pointing. No more lies and vote shaming. And although we Berners know that Bernie could have won and that he should have been the Democratic nominee, our job now is to hold President Trump accountable for his promises to bring people together and to work for the American people.
Salon reports that when asked to comment on Trump’s victory, Bernie’s spokesperson said he had “nothing polite to say” about it. I’m guessing he was both angry at the DNC and the fact that Trump actually won despite his best efforts for Hillary.
Later in the day, though, Bernie did release a statement on Trump’s election. In his typically blunt but polite manner, Bernie addressed progressive and liberal fears that Democratic voters are facing right now.
“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 very rich become 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.”
Progressives Prepare to Fight
And although both the House and the Senate will have a Republican majority come January, and our Vice President is a right-wing theocratic oaf, we know the country is not completely filled with hate-mongers, misogynists, and racists. In fact, the United States has become more and more progressive and inclusive in the last several years. And Republicans who know this will do whatever they can dismantle as many progressive programs as possible before the 2018 mid-term elections.
But Bernie Sanders will be there, as will Tulsi Gabbard — who won re-election with 81 percent of the vote. Elizabeth Warren can redeem herself after betraying Bernie’s base if she, too, takes up the sword and shield against any far-right policies Trump and Pence might put forth.
It’s rumored that President Obama will try to ram through the Trans-Pacific Partnership before leaving office, but if he’s not successful, will Trump try? If he does Bernie & Co. will be there arguing against it. Will Trump try to demolish Social Security? You can bet your bottom dollar that Bernie and allies on both sides of the aisle will fight tooth and nail to protect it.
Bernie won’t always win the fight, but the fight is what will prepare us for the mid-terms, and for the next presidential election. And We the People, must hold our elected officials accountable for their actions. Like the Dakota Access Pipeline protestors, we must put our safety and lives on the line to make sure the Trump does not set our country back.
The Failures of Bill and Barack
Trump is already energizing the progressive base, and Tulsi Gabbard or another equally well-loved candidate could emerge to challenge him and win in 2020. Former President Bill Clinton’s head of the Department of Labor Robert Reich wrote a scathing condemnation of the “three enablers” that allowed Trump to gain a large following. He wrote it two days prior to the general election, and it proved prophetic.
Those three enablers, he writes were the Republican Party, the mainstream media, and the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party, he observes, was once the party of the working class, but it has since evolved into an elitist party run by wealthy donors and fundraisers. He squarely laid the blame on both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, for failing American workers while promoting free trade.
“Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama ardently pushed for free trade agreements without providing millions of blue-collar workers who thereby lost their jobs means of getting new ones that paid at least as well.”
“They stood by as corporations hammered trade unions, the backbone of the white working class — failing to reform labor laws to impose meaningful penalties on companies that violate them, or help workers form unions with a simple up-or-down vote.”
Bernie may not have won the Democratic nomination, but he is still in the Senate. And he will most likely become far more powerful than the late Ted Kennedy could have ever imagined. Bernie is rolling up his sleeves, ready to work with Trump or fight him. And to him I say: Alright, Bernie, if you have our backs, we have yours. Let’s do this.
[Featured Image by John Locher/AP Images]