U.S. Republican presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump speaks at a veteran's rally in Des Moines, Iowa January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking - RTX24HPX
Bernie Sanders has been getting a lot more attention since Hillary Clinton dropped the ball and Donald Trump became president elect. There has been a concerted effort to give Bernie Sanders’ message a megaphone it did not receive during the Democratic primary. CNN held a prime time town hall which featured Bernie Sanders reaching out to Trump supporters. Sunday shows and news segments abound, which is good, because Bernie Sanders and his supporters are the strongest counterweight to soon to be president Trump and his agenda.
Bernie Sanders tapped into the same discontent that fueled the Trump campaign, but Sanders channeled that energy into progressive policy proposals. Donald Trump has channeled that energy in a lot of different directions, most of them quite unsavory. Despite that the Republican Establishment has tied their fate and their right wing economic agenda to Donald Trump.
That economic agenda has been a driving force for Republicans, but not so much for Donald Trump. The Republican Party would love massive tax breaks for the upper echelons of American earners. Republicans would love to enact devastating cuts to much needed regulations and social programs. In rhetoric Donald Trump doesn’t always seem to agree, but what little policy has trickled out of the Trump camp seems to be very much in line with the Republican’s hard cuts all around ideology.
Bernie Sanders and his supporters spoke to the same anger, the rhetoric gave people the change they actually wanted. It is important to remember that the Bernie Sanders policy agenda is one backed heavily by public opinion. Consistently Bernie Sanders is rated one of the most popular politicians in the country and his grassroots campaign infrastructure is still largely chugging along. For these reasons Bernie Sanders and his supporters are one of the few forces in American politics capable of legitimately countering the Trump White House.
Democrats have very little of that energy going for them. Depressed turnout amongst the working class and young voters helped crack the so called midwestern “blue wall”. There is no reason to believe without a wholesale makeover that the Democrats have what it takes to rebuild that energy, without Bernie Sanders that is.
Bernie Sanders and his movement will need to provide a much needed counterweight to Donald Trump. The Democrats simply do not have the legitimacy amongst key segments of voters, voters that flocked to Bernie Sanders in state after state. States whose voters proved to be Hillary Clinton’s achilles heel. States whose voters Bernie Sanders and his supporters have the needed clout and qualifications to reach out to and help stop the pieces of the Donald Trump agenda they did not vote for, but will be pushed upon them by the Republican Establishment anyway.