The U.S. Senate’s progressive firebrand issued his first full statement after America elected Trump over Sanders’ Democratic primary challenger, Hillary Clinton, in Tuesday’s election—and he doesn’t pull any punches
Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids–all while the very rich become much richer.
To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.”
A Sanders spokesperson originally said the senator had “nothing polite to say” following Trump’s victory.
Both Trump and Sanders tapped into Americans’ desire for an anti-establishment candidate who would change the status quo in Washington—albeit from entirely opposite sides of the political spectrum, at least in terms of policy.
While Sanders’ statement acknowledges the realities that led to Trump’s victory, a careful reading reveals the senator’s commitment to fighting against Trump’s policy agendas, including his rejection of climate change and an aggressive stance against immigrants.
Americans who supported Sanders in the Democratic primary have expressed frustration following Clinton’s defeat, arguing that the Vermont senator would have been a stronger opponent against Trump because of the enthusiasm Sanders sparked in progressive voters.
Turnout— Domenico Montanaro (@DomenicoNPR) November 9, 2016
2012 Obama: 65.9m
2016 Clinton: 59.1m = -6.8m
2012 Romney: 60.9m
2016 Trump: 59m = -1.9m
You tell me what happened
The early vote tally shows this may be the case: While Clinton appears to have won the popular vote while losing the Electoral College, the former secretary of state received some 6.8 million fewer votes than President Barack Obama earned in 2012, a sign of lower enthusiasm among those who may have otherwise voted for the Democratic candidate.
Overall, only 53.4 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in the 2016 election.