Muftic: Populism is a fickle beast.
December 6, 2016
The public mood can change quickly. Therein lies the Democratic Party's hope, but only if it can develop an appeal to those who voted for change in 2016 and Donald Trump fails to improve the lot of those who felt economic pain of being left behind in the economy.
Donald Trump is laying a trap for himself by setting up an administratiion dominated by anti-populists. So far, Donald Trump's appointments to cabinet posts make his administration look like a team of billionaires. While they are Washington outsiders, their orientation is 100% big business and it is doubtful they will promote protecting consumers from bad, unfair, harmful business practices or take the side of the working middle class when policy conflicts with the CEO s and the bottom line. Republicans propose removing regulations that are harmful to business interests and many of those regulations are consumer protection measures. Democrats should be ready to pounce when they see these inevitable GOP backed anti consumer, anti little guy policies.
What Democrats are debating is whether to stonewall Donald Trump so he fails or whether they join forces with him on issues and legislation which they would normally support because it benefits the working middle class .Those who support stonewalling argue that supporting Trump on some policy issues is helping Trump succeed and will hurt Democratic chances later. Democrats have more to gain by tooting their horns loudly that solving middle class problems is better than blind partisanship. Their measuring stick should be whether the middle class is helped in deciding what legislation they support regardless who proposes it.
Both Democrats and the Trump administration can join in common cause in providing more jobs through infrastructure projects. Greater emphasis on educational training for the new manufacturing economy will be something that may be of direct benefit.
What would be harmful to the struggling middle class would be yanking affordable health insurance from those in the lower income brackets without effective, comparable replacement. Privatizing Medicare and Social Security would not be helpful, because those who most rely on those programs for retirement security are the middle class and the near poor. Democrats should hold Donald Trump to his promises not to touch them. If lowering individual taxes on the wealthy does not stimulate the economy and lift all boats in four years, Democrats can make the case trickle down economics are a demonstrated failure. To do so, they need to oppose massive tax cuts to wealthy individuals now even if it is a losing battle in Congress.
Promoters of white supremacy such as the KKK and bigotry forums like Breitbart News tainted supporters of Donald Trump. Racists and bigots think they have found a home in a GOP and believe they have a green light to be "politically incorrect" and shout hate speech. Donald Trump denounced bigotry in a post election rally in Cincinnati. Those were the right words, but whether his policies support civil and human rights will be the real test. Expect Democrats to continue to speak out against racism and bigotry, and be a champion for civil and human rights. That is what will inevitably differentiate Democrats from the Trump wing of the GOP.
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