From HUSTLER Magazine
Can Trumpism Survive Without Trump?
Pundits and prognosticators are now saying that even if Trump is defeated in 2020—or impeached before then—it won’t necessarily be the end of Trumpism. While dog-whistling racism and pandering to the lowest common denominator certainly helped get him elected, that’s not the whole story. The steady decline in the standard of living for working-class Americans of all stripes, especially in the Rust Belt states, is the toxic soil that nourished Trump and the whole alt-right movement supporting him.
Many of the folks who had previously voted for Obama tipped the last election to Trump, not because they agreed with his racism, sexism and xenophobia—they were just desperate for some kind of salvation, and the Democrats under the Clinton wing of the party didn’t offer it. To the average underemployed Joe in Pittsburgh, the soaring costs of living affected his life more directly than any other issue.
Ever since Reagan, American productivity has increased, but wages have flatlined. Meanwhile the costs of housing, education, medical care and the other essentials of life have continued to skyrocket out of sight. Thousands of good manufacturing jobs have been exported overseas by free trade agreements. The pathetic federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised since 2009—in fact, adjusted for inflation, it buys less than it did in 1968. And hundreds of small and large businesses alike are being wiped out by Amazon, Google and other tech giants.
Far too friendly with Wall Street, the Democrats have largely been AWOL on the core economic issues of the last decade. As Robert Reich, Elizabeth Warren and many other true progressives argue, it is crucial that the party be reformed and recover its New Deal roots. Reinforcing the Sherman Antitrust Act and reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act would be good starts. If we can’t recover those tried-and-true Democratic traditions, ditched for no good reason, then how can we ever move forward? Progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez support a Green New Deal: an economic stimulus program that invests in renewable energy infrastructure, providing thousands of new jobs while seriously addressing climate change.
Democrats beholden to their corporate campaign contributors must stop marginalizing the true progressives in the party—or we may see more bloviating morons like Trump succeed. Neo-Nazi groups are flourishing now. Racist organizations and hate crimes are on the rise. If leading Democrats don’t stop catering to the oligarchs who put them in office and get behind grassroots reform, more competent demagogues than Trump could ride this wave of working-class frustration to power in state and national elections.