The real winner of the 2016 election: The working class
The Republican Party, as the party of Lincoln’s industrial North, the Gilded Age of the Roaring ’20s, and Reagan’s supply-side economics, has been stereotypically associated with the interests of Big Business – and big businessmen.
The Democrats, on the other hand, have been the party of the Progressive Movement, the New Deal, the Great Society, of labor unions and urban folk.
In 2012, Republican super-PACs outraised Democrats by $211 million (although Obama ultimately did outraise Romney in the presidential election, big money was consistently on the side of Romney). In 2016, Hillary Clinton outraised Donald Trump by over $413M ($866.6M to $453.1M). She and her husband made $153.6M in 15 years of speaking tours – many to Wall St. executives – and said of them in October, “I love having the support of real billionaires.”
That doesn’t look like the leader of the working class.
Of course, who’d have thought that FDR would have been a voice for the working class? As an American aristocrat from birth, he even had the accent of a bygone age, of a class so wealthy that his “fireside” chats by radio had a sound of exoticism to the average American. And yet that was the man responsible for the New Deal.
Donald Trump, believe it or not, could be the next FDR, only of the political spectrum’s other end.
Donald Trump campaigned to end NAFTA and policies that ultimately harm American workers. His impressive sweep of non-college-educated whites and a sizeable demographic of minorities, as well as coal country, the Rust Belt, and adjacent states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin contributes to the electorate’s belief in Donald Trump to be their champion.
While he may plan to go about it in the exact opposite method from FDR – by reducing the federal government rather than expanding it, in order to unfetter American potential – his promise to bring back industry jobs and create policy that’s good for blue-collar labor is a promise to workers nonetheless.
After Donald J. Trump became PEOTUS, Elizabeth Warren gave a speech, saying:
So let me be 100% clear about this. When President-Elect Trump wants to take on these issues, when his goal is to increase the economic security of middle class families, then count me in. I will put aside our differences and I will work with him to accomplish that goal. I offer to work as hard as I can and to pull as many people as I can into this effort. If Trump is ready to go on rebuilding economic security for millions of Americans, so am I and so are a lot of other people-Democrats and Republicans.
Bernie Sanders followed suit. Sanders even went so far as to do the work that Trump can’t. He introduced The Outsourcing Prevention Act in the Senate that would impose “a tax on all companies that outsource jobs” – that is, effectively a price-equalizing tariff on American companies selling products in the U.S. after using cheaper Mexican labor. Pinch yourself: a Democrat is helping a Republican realize his economic vision for the country.
Sanders’s proposed legislation would, of course, be effectively the harbinger of death for NAFTA. It would also signify policy-based action designed to help the industry workers of the United States, which is a welcome shift away from the type of policies we’ve seen crossing the president’s desk in the past several years.
With the defeat of Hillary Clinton and the DNC leadership at large, the stock of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – as well as their populist-inspired, democratic-socialist platform – is on the rise for leftists. And priority number one for them appears to be a desire to put America back to work – a promise our current president-elect earned his new office space on.
For the first time in arguably ever, American workers may be the focus of bipartisan support. While the party of FDR and the party of Reagan may duel over exactly the best way to best help workers, the statement holds true: the winner of the 2016 election is the working class.