by Tom Suhrbur
Bernie or bust! This is the sentiment among some Sanders supporters. It is so wrong. I supported Bernie Sanders in the primary and contributed more than $27 to his campaign. He best reflected my feelings about a wide range of issues such as income inequality, health care, social justice, environmental protection, trade and taxes. Sanders is absolutely right in supporting Hillary. A Trump presidency would likely give Republican control of all three branches of the federal government, embolden reactionary bigotry and undermine social progress for many years to come. Remember what happened the last time Republicans swept into power: two wars in the Middle East and the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.
While Hillary might be a flawed candidate, Trump is a disaster. The major differences between Trump and Clinton are the organizations and people supporting them. Although Hillary has had close ties to the wealthy, corporate elite (including Donald Trump), she cannot ignore the concerns of labor unions, environmentalists, minorities, feminists and other progressive groups. She needs their support to win. She has been pushed by Sanders’ insurgency to take positions on banking regulation, trade, student debt, minimum wage, environmental policies and a host of other reforms. Her election will create the political climate for progressive reforms. Progressives must continue to organize around the issues that Bernie raised in the primaries after the election.
Trump owes these groups nothing! He appeals to fear, anxiety and bigotry. He will appoint conservative, pro-corporate justices to the Supreme Court, deregulate environmental/ climate change regulations, increase funding for our already bloated military, kowtow to the NRA, oppose an increase in the minimum wage (He even said: “Having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country.”), and possibly incite a disastrous nuclear arms race in the Middle East by encouraging Saudi Arabia to develop such weapons. His proposed tax cuts will go mostly to the wealthy and cause huge deficits leading to calls for cutting social services (but not the military). His wall is a joke and the deportation of 11 million undocumented aliens is not only inhumane but also devastating to families who have lived here for decades raising their children as Americans. Like Adolph Hitler, he says that he will order the military to use torture. Trump actually quoted Benito Mussolini in a tweet: “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.” Anyone who questions his judgement is attacked personally even to the point of making fun of a disabled reporter. He is an ill informed, intemperate, narcissistic and dangerous demagogue bordering on fascism.
Many of Trump supporters are working class and lower middle class whites. Trump claims that he loves the “poorly educated.” Really? Apparently he thinks these supporters are so gullible that they believe his absurd claims that Obama was born in Africa, thousands in New Jersey celebrated on the streets on 9/11, Mexico will pay for his wall, Ted Cruz’s father was involved in JFK’s assassination and countless other ridiculous statements. Like P.T. Barnum, Trump assumes that there is a “sucker born every minute.” He obviously holds his “poorly educated” supporters in high contempt. He jokingly stated that, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s, like, incredible.” He appeals to the angst that corporate capitalism has created for the working class. Low paid jobs, longer hours of work, economic insecurity, and the terrorism. These are real concerns created by decades of conservative, economics policies and military adventurism in the Middle East. Trump does not have real solutions to these problems but knows how to exploit them for his personal aggrandizement.