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Reich writes: "Make no mistake: America has rejected Trumpism."

Robert Reich. (photo: Getty)
Robert Reich. (photo: Getty)

America Rejects Trumpism

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Facebook Page

07 November 18


ake no mistake: America has rejected Trumpism.

No one seriously expected the Senate to flip, because Democrats had to defend 26 seats in that chamber, compared with only nine held by Republicans.

The real battleground was the House, where Democrats had to achieve a net gain of 23 seats to get the 218 needed for a majority.

They did.

Trump wasn’t on the ballot but he made the election into a referendum on himself.

So Americans turned against House Republicans, who should have acted as a check on him but did nothing – in many cases magnifying his vileness.

The nation has repudiated Trump, but do not believe for a moment that our national nightmare is over.

Trump still occupies the White House and in all likelihood will be there for two more years.

The Republican Party remains in control of the Senate.

Fox News is still Trump’s propaganda ministry. (The line between Fox and Trump, already blurred, vanished completely at his last pre-election rally when Fox hosts Sean Hannity and Jeannine Pirro joined him on stage.)

The American people will be subject to more of Trump’s lies and hate, as amplified by Senate Republicans and Fox News.

Trump can be expected to scapegoat House Democrats for anything that goes wrong. American politics will almost certainly become even meaner, coarser, and uglier. We will remain deeply and angrily divided.

Most worrisome, America still won’t respond to real threats that continue to grow, which Trump and his enablers have worsened – climate change; the suppression of votes, and foreign intrusions into our elections; the most expensive and least efficient healthcare system in the world; and, not least, widening inequalities of income, wealth, and political power.

America will eventually overcome and reverse Trumpism. The harder challenge will be to reverse the reasons Trump and his Republican lapdogs gained power in the first place.

Some blame racism and nativism. But these toxins have poisoned America since the founding of the Republic.

What’s new has been the interaction between them and the long economic slide of tens of millions of working Americans, most of them white and lacking college degrees.

They used to be the bedrock of the Democratic Party, many of them members of trade unions whose strength in numbers gave them an increasing share of the gains from economic growth.

Their long economic slide has generated the kind of frustrations that demagogues throughout history have twisted into rage at “them.”

Meanwhile, most economic gains have gone to the top 1 percent, whose wealth is now greater than the combined wealth of the bottom 90 percent – giving them enough political muscle to demand and get tax cuts, Wall Street bailouts, corporate subsidies, and regulatory rollbacks. These in turn have created even more wealth at the top.

All were trends before Trump. Yet Democrats failed to reverse them, even though Democrats occupied the White House most of these years (and during four of them controlled both houses of Congress).

Trump has worsened them by slashing taxes on the wealthy and corporations, whittling back the Affordable Care Act, and loosening restrictions on Wall Street.

Jobs may be back but they pay squat, especially compared with the rising costs of housing, healthcare, and education. And they’re less secure than ever. One in five is now held by a worker under contract without any unemployment insurance, sick leave, or retirement savings.

Which presumably is why Trump decided to focus the midterms on hate and fear rather than the economy.

He thereby created a large opening for Democrats aiming for 2020. They can become the party of the bottom 90 percent by creating a multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalition to wrest back control of our economy and democracy.

They would focus on two big things: First, raise the purchasing power of the bottom 90 percent through stronger unions, a larger wage subsidy (starting with a bigger Earned Income Tax Credit), and Medicare for All.

Second, get big money out of politics through public financing of elections, full disclosure of all sources of political funding, an end to the revolving door between business and government.

Democrats shouldn’t try moving to the “center.” The center no longer exists because most Americans are no longer on the traditional “right” or “left.”

The vast majority of Americans are now anti-establishment, and understandably so.

The practical choice is either Trump’s authoritarian populism backed by the moneyed interests, or a new democratic populism backed by the rest of us.

The direction couldn’t be clearer. It should be the Democrat’s hour.

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+11 # chapdrum 2018-11-07 19:27
That's good. Now we only have to wait another two years while he and his wrecking crew continue to decimate our country.
(I'd bet that he won't leave office.)
+8 # librarian1984 2018-11-07 19:58
Don't believe the spin, that progressives did poorly so we have to run an establishment candidate in 2020. Progressives did fine: Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Omar, Pressley, others are in though others, like Eastman and Thompson, were sabotaged in the primaries or abandoned by the party during their campaign, given little to no help -- for just this reason. The party wants to say they lost .. but they were abandoned. Progressive incumbents won and many ballot measures passed, even in red states, including three that voted to expand Medicare (hint hint, Democrats). Many Justice Democrat and Our Revolution candidates won.

To me the big story is blue dogs losses. These candidates got tons of money and help, they played to 'moderate Republicans', they badmouthed their own party -- and they're gone: Sinema, Heitkamp, McCaskill, Tester, Nelson. Buh-bye!

Amy Klobuchar, who worked with Sanders on some issues, won by 16 points, and the first two Muslim women to Congress took 85% and 78% of their votes!

Glad Walker and Pete and Jeff Sessions are gone.

Note that Democrats won in MI, WI and PA. They most likely would have done so in 2016 if HRC hadn't led the ticket.

Now it's time for Beto, who declined to share his millions with others, to use that money to start his run for POTUS. He will be our Sarah Palin. Really appealing but maybe a little too ambitious.

Michael Moore wants Sully or Oprah to run for us, even though Sully is GOP. sigh.
+2 # economagic 2018-11-07 22:27
Right on. Didn't know that about Klobuchar.

If you see any Dem in a close race about to throw in the towel, insist that they read and heed the advice of Fitrakis and Wasserman and assure them that they will have resources as long as they choose to fight:

Or at near the top of the page.
+1 # Porfiry 2018-11-08 12:27
Sully has said he has been a Repub for "85% of my adult life." Sounds like he has changed his mind. Hoping.
+5 # Jazzbo 2018-11-07 20:48
As a strategy, that's good advice. But I wonder why in his list of problems Mr. Reich doesn't even MENTION our bloated military budget and imperialist presence overseas. A change of priorities there would make a big difference.
+6 # economagic 2018-11-07 21:01
"Make no mistake: America has rejected Trumpism."

"All were trends before Trump. Yet Democrats failed to reverse them. . . ."


Make no mistake: "America" has NOT "rejected Trump," despite the greatest turnout since 1966 among eligible voters. We can hope that will happen two years from now if we all live that long, but it has NOT happened yet.

And the Democratic misleaders have seldom even pretended to TRY to reverse the trends.

But overall not too bad for Clinton Democrat Robert Reich.

But Professor Reich (and Marc Ash), why on Eaarth are you telling THIS audience what the "Democratic" party and its misleaders might or "should" do? A good many of the readers here, possibly the majority, having been saying this for years. They quit pretending some time ago that corporate Dems are suddenly going to realize they're on the wrong side of history and magically turn into progressives, much less into the democratic socialists that will be necessary if the planet is to be preserved for habitation by carbon based life forms higher up the evolutionary ladder than cockroaches.
+4 # relegn 2018-11-08 06:56
I agree with most of Mr. Reich's points and the direction "is" clear. In 2013 the fifth Quintile, top 20%, of the population by income held 89% of the Wealth of the US. If you want to change the economic conditions in the US the place to start is with a dramatic increase in taxes on Wealth. This revenue can then be returned to the population at large.
+8 # Texas Aggie 2018-11-08 08:34
To expect the Democratic Party leadership to open up to the opportunity presented is sort of silly. Pelosi, Schumer, Clinton, and the rest of that crowd in the DNC and the DCCC aren't about to face reality and would rather the whole party sink than actually fight for what used to be Democratic values (unionism, taking care of the country, looking out for the working class). They have a comfortable sinecure and have no intention of actually rocking the boat. Remember Upton Sinclair's observation about how money influences someone's beliefs.
0 # DongiC 2018-11-11 06:41
There are a lot of excellent comments here: librarian 1984, economagic, relegn, Texas Aggie, Jazzbo. If the Democrats listen to them, they can put together an outstanding platform which, I am sure, will send the party of Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Reagan, Bush I and II, and King Trump back into the dark ages of political history.

Tax the wealthy, preserve the environment, clean up voting procedures, provide decent health care for EVERYONE, refurbish the infrastructure, retire Pelosi and Schumer and the Clintons, reduce that hideous military budget, regulate the banks more closely, restore unions, raise the minimum wage to $15.00 p/hr, fashion a sane immigration policy so the Statue of Liberty stops weeping and it is all doable. Women are on the scene in full force, at last, thank God. The Latinos are responding, blacks and moslems too, LBGQT also. Plus, the young.

It is a mighty force, a splendid coalition. It is not a time for despair but one of optimism. Let's make America as great as it can be. Something we can all be proud of!

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