US President Donald Trump released his first budget proposal on 16 March. And it was terrible. But as Bernie Sanders tore it to pieces, at least the American public got another insight into just how much establishment politicians have totally lost the plot.
Sanders responds to the budget
Vice summed up the budget with the headline Trump Wants Massive Budget Cuts for Basically Everything Besides the Military. And it described how “widespread domestic cuts will all funnel money toward defense programs”.
President Trump’s budget is morally obscene and bad economic policy. It will cause devastating pain to the very people Trump promised to help during the campaign.
At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, when 43 million Americans are living in poverty and half of older Americans have no retirement savings, we should not slash programs that senior citizens, children and working people rely on in order to provide a massive increase in spending to the military industrial complex. Trump’s priorities are exactly opposite of where we should be heading as a nation.
There were other critiques of the budget from Democratic Party politicians, but few were as powerful or succinct as Sanders’.
The US public know what they missed out on
When the Democratic Party chose Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders as its candidate to oppose Donald Trump, it essentially handed victory to the Republican candidate. The main aim of Clinton and her powerful benefactors seemed not to be to reflect the political mood in the US, but to undermine Sanders’ campaign from the very start. And in the end, this left Americans with two very uninspiring options, and a president who would only gain the support of a quarter of eligible voters.
But as a 15 March poll suggests, Sanders’ support during the elections was not fleeting. In recent months, he has arguably become the most vocal opponent of Trump’s presidency. And this has left him with an approval rating of 61%, compared to Trump’s own 43%.
47% of the 1,008 US voters polled, meanwhile, had a “strongly unfavorable” opinion of Trump. And only 20% of people thought the same about Sanders.
But what’s particularly revealing is that only 32% of people approved of the work of Congress Democrats. And only 29% approved of Congress Republicans. In short, establishment politicians have very low approval ratings, while people view Bernie Sanders very positively.
Establishment politicians have lost it. Totally.
So why is Sanders so much more popular than establishment politicians? Well, he kept his focus on progressive policies when campaigning against Hillary Clinton – in contrast to her focus on personality over policy. Since Trump’s election victory, meanwhile, Sanders has criticised how the richest Americans continue to control the country’s economic and political life. He can also connect with working people in both pro-Democrat and pro-Republican states. And he consistently holds the powerful to account.
Essentially, Sanders is more popular because he does what politicians ought to do. He does his job. He fights for ordinary working people. And he opposes the anti-democratic rule of the rich and powerful.
The American people know what they want. But establishment politicians just don’t get it. And Trump only became President by pretending he’d give people what they wanted.
By stopping Sanders from running against Trump, Democratic elites showed that they have totally lost the plot. And having handed victory to Trump on a plate, they now have four years to reflect on their mistake.
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Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr