Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) on Friday defended voters of President Trump, saying that the election was Democrats’ to lose and that the party needs to better represent the working-class voters who supported Trump and other GOP lawmakers.

“Some people think that the people who voted for Trump are racists and sexists and homophobes and deplorable folks. I don’t agree, because I’ve been there. Let me tell you something else some of you might not agree with, it wasn’t that Donald Trump won the election, it was that the Democratic Party lost the election,” Sanders said while speaking at an Our Revolution rally in Boston with fellow Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Continue reading:  Sanders defends Trump voters: I don’t think they’re racists, sexists or homophobes

Commentary by The Secular Jurist:  At the risk of offending Democratic Party supporters, I completely agree with Mr. Sanders.  While racists, sexists, and homophobes did vote for Donald Trump, not all who did vote for him can be characterized as such.  Many of these voters used to be Democrats.  What turned them towards a megalomaniac like Trump?

From FDR to LBJ, the Democratic Party enjoyed massive support among a broad coalition of working class whites, ethnic minorities, liberals and progressives.  What held this coalition together was the Party’s core message which was profoundly economic and populist (i.e. the little guy versus the big guy).  After working class whites largely attained the promise of the American Dream, primarily under Democratic rule, Republicans were able to appeal to their resentment over the rise of black activism in the 1960s (who also wanted to share in the dream).  This successful GOP ploy was first coined Nixon’s southern strategy.  In response to defections of working class whites, the Democratic Party reformed under Bill Clinton.  It abandoned its core message of economic populism (i.e. progressivism) and instead embraced the causes of social justice (i.e. liberalism) while, at the same time, aligning itself with corporatist policies driven by the corrupting influence of big money.  However, corporatism eventually destroyed the American middle class and drove millions back into poverty.  With the Democratic and Republican party establishments arrayed against them economically, socially conservative working class whites were left out in the cold – ripe pickings for an opportunistic megalomaniac.

Past is prologue.  The economic inequality created by today’s obscene concentration of wealth is mirroring that of the 1930s which enabled the Democratic Party under FDR to rise to great political heights.  Once again, Bernie Sanders has hit the nail squarely on its head.  Democrats better listen.

9 thoughts on “Sanders defends Trump voters: I don’t think they’re racists, sexists or homophobes

  1. I agree. The race was the Democrats to lose, and they did. Gloriously. The DNC putting its finger on the scale to favor Clinton was a poor, poor, poor decision. I’m not sure the Party has learned a lesson from all this, but I hope sincerely that it has or this will only be the beginning of tRump-like “leaders” in the White House. Also. based solely on my immediate family members and several others I know who voted for tRump, I believe, while not the only reason, racism and bigotry played a bigger part in this election than they’re given credit for. To quote my brilliant, very wealthy and very stupid, step-father, “I’m sick of lookin’, at an n-word in the White House. No matter what else Trump may be, at least he isn’t black.” That’s an exact quote. Lovely, is it not? This sentiment is felt by all I know who voted for tRump. Police. Firemen, and even a few social service workers, all white, of course. Such folks feel comfortable confiding in me because I’m a big white dude who looks like he’d be right at home at a white supremacist rally. (I wouldn’t, BTW.) My guess is, most bigots who voted for tRump are not as open about it publicly as they are sitting at the bar drinking with me, a perceived brother in arms. I listen; nod my head, and thank Jeebus I’m not one of them.
    Anyway, hope progressives gain power soon cause this sucks. Bernie’s the guy to lead this charge, but we need more, younger leadership, too. We have to get millennials off their asses and vote. Younger, progressive and charismatic leaders can, hopefully help this happen. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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    • Well put. Yes, bigotry and racism are huge problems. I know sick people like your stepfather too. Still, Sanders’ point has merit; otherwise, Obama should not have won the presidency nor been reelected. Especially in 2008, many working class whites voted for the “black man” because they thought it was in their best economic interest to do so.

      Bigotry and racism, in my view, are normally latent emotional conditions which can be brought to the surface by external factors. Nixon knew this in 1968, and Trump certainly did in 2016.

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  2. Bernie is always right. You great minds think alike! 🙂 Excellent succinct analysis.

    Trump gave people “permission” to be openly racist, sexist, etc. Some people on the edge have taken that as permission to commit hate crimes.

    For higher-minded people, a Trump presidency has opened eyes. But I don’t think enough to pull the Democratic Party left. (Too many continue to be preoccupied with how Trump rigged the election against Hillary–obtusely ignoring that Hillary rigged the Primary against Bernie.) I sincerely hope Sanders allows himself to be drafted by the People’s Party for 2020.

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