Regain the working class

Dora Longo Bahia. Revolutions (calendar design), 2016 Acrylic, water-based pen and watercolor on paper (12 pieces) 23 x 30.5 cm each
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By BERNIE SANDERS*

If the Democratic Party is to avoid losing millions of votes in the future, it must stand firm and serve America's working-class families.

80 million Americans voted for Joe Biden. With these votes against Donald Trump's bigotry, the world can collectively breathe a sigh of relief. The election result, however, also revealed something that should be cause for concern. Trump received around 2020 million more votes in 11 than in 2016, boosting his support in many struggling communities – where unemployment and poverty are high, health and child care is inadequate, and people suffer most.

For a president who lies all the time, perhaps Donald Trump's most outlandish lie is that he, and his administration, are friends of our country's working class.

The truth is, Trump has put more billionaires into his administration than any president in history; he appointed vehemently anti-labor members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and offered grandiose tax breaks for the very rich and big corporations, while proposing massive cuts to education, housing and food programs. Trump has tried to withdraw health care from nearly 32 million people and produced budgets that demanded tens of billions in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Even so, a certain segment of our country's working class still believes that Donald Trump is on their side.

Why?

At a time when millions of Americans live in fear and anxiety, have lost their jobs to unfair trade deals and haven't had a real pay raise in 47 years, his supporters saw him as a tough guy and a "warrior". He seems to be fighting just about everyone, every day.

He declared himself an enemy of the “swamp”, attacking not only Democrats, but also Republicans who did not agree with him 100%, and even members of his own administration, whom he declared to belong to the “deep state”. He attacks leaders of countries that have been our longtime allies, as well as governors, mayors and our independent judiciary. He lashes out at the media as an “enemy of the people” and is relentless in his endless attacks against the immigrant community, against women who speak out, against the African-American community, the gay community, Muslims and protesters.

He uses racism, xenophobia and paranoia to convince a vast portion of the American population that he cares about their needs, when nothing could be further from the truth. His only interest, from day one, was Donald Trump.

Joe Biden will be declared president on January 20, and Nancy Pelosi will be Congressional spokeswoman. Depending on what happens in the Georgia special election, which party will control the Senate is still up in the air.

But one thing is clear. If the Democratic Party is to avoid losing millions of votes in the future, it must stand firm and serve our country's working-class families who are now facing the greatest economic despair since the Great Depression. Democrats must show, in word and deed, how fraudulent the Republican party is when it claims to be the party of working people's families.

And to do that, Democrats must have the courage to stand up to the powerful special interests that have been at war with the working class of this country for decades. I'm talking about Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, the fossil fuel industry, the military-industrial complex, the private prison industrial complex, and many other profit organizations that continue to exploit their employees.

If the Democratic party cannot demonstrate that it will stand up to these powerful institutions and that it will fight aggressively on behalf of this country's working families - whether they be Black, White, Latino, Asian-American or Native-American - we will pave the way for another right-wing authoritarian leader gets elected in 2025. And this president could be even worse than Trump.

Joe Biden ran for president with a strong pro-working-class agenda. Now we must fight for it to be put into action and vigorously oppose those who stand in its way.

Which Side Are You On? It was a folk song written by Florence Reece, the wife of a Miners' Union organizer when it went on strike in Kentucky in 1931. Democrats must make it absolutely clear which side they are on.

One side is in favor of ending wages, which are so low they leave people starving, and advocates raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The other does not.

One side is in favor of expanding unions. The other does not.

One side is in favor of creating millions of high-paying jobs by fighting climate change and rebuilding our collapsing infrastructure. The other does not.

One side is in favor of expanding health care. The other does not.

One side is in favor of lowering the cost of prescription drugs. The other does not.

One side is in favor of paid family and medical leave. The other does not.

One side is in favor of universal access to preschool for all three- and four-year-olds in America. The other does not.

One side is in favor of expanding social security. The other does not.

One side favors making public colleges and universities tuition-free for working-class families and eliminating student debt. The other does not.

One side is in favor of ending a broken and racist criminal justice system and investing in youth education and employment. The other does not.

One side is in favor of reforming and making our immigration system fair and humane. The other does not.

The Democrats' task during the first 100 days of the Biden administration is to make it absolutely clear which side they are on, and who is on the other side. This is not only good public policy to strengthen our country. It's like winning elections in the future.

*Bernie Sanders is a senator of the US Congress from the state of Vermont.

Translation: Daniel Pavan.

 

 

 

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