Opinion: Moderate Democrats Will Not Eradicate Trumpism


Editor’s Note: This opinion piece was submitted to The Knight Crier for publication from a NPHS student. Submissions from students and staff are always welcome and will be read, considered, and edited for publication as needed by our Editorial Board. 

I know what most people reading this are thinking: this age of delusion already has a name? Indeed, and the political movement of Trumpism, even after Trump’s defeat, does not show any clear signs of dissipating in the near future.

Since Donald Trump’s election victory in 2016, Trumpism has arbitrarily taken over the premise of the Republican Party. The movement sympathizes with white grievances and rejects anyone who denounces the motive of taking out “liberal elites” and “draining the swamp.” It’s authoritarian, statist, and a threat to the ideals of democracy.

These ideas, spewing from one man alone,  have attracted and united millions. With Trump and his supporters in denial over their loss to President-Elect Joe Biden in the 2020 election, it is unclear to all as to what his next steps are. No matter his post-political pursuits, his ideology and style are going to be supported by the right vastly, and those aspects are going to be sought out from a new Republican candidate in future elections to come. 

A few days after the election, Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican, on NBC’s “Meet The Press” stated “I believe the great majority of people who voted for Donald Trump want to make sure that his principles and his policies are pursued. So, yes, he’s not disappearing by any means.”

To liberals and leftists, the victory of Joe Biden and the defeat of Trump was exhilarating, but unnerving. The key races to winning the election were in their favor, though too close for comfort. Throughout Biden’s presidential campaign, he constantly tried to appeal to moderate Republicans and “Never-Trump Republicans” (lifelong Republican voters who were disgraced by the thought of Donald Trump). 

A key-component in helping him attempt to secure this vote was The Lincoln Project. It was a political action committee that was established by Republicans against Trump, aimed with the purpose of preventing his re-election. Although Donald Trump lost, the Lincoln Project failed. In a study of election exit polls conducted by the New York Times, 94% of Republican voters voted for Donald Trump in 2020, compared to the 90% that voted for him in 2016. This was not an outcome the Biden campaign wanted nor predicted, and it should serve as a lesson to not just their 2024 campaign, but the Democratic Party as a whole.

Dating back to the previous four years, minorities have been the basis of every negative, politically motivated, verbal assault by the right. Donald Trump encouraged this by frequently retweeting racial dog whistles and videos of people exclaiming “white power,” telling American congresswomen from different ethnic backgrounds to “go back to their home countries,” and promising to “save the suburbs” from public housing. It’s hard to believe he called himself the “best president for Black Americans since Lincoln” simultaneously. Now that fed-up minorities voted in a fair and democratic way, and won, Donald Trump wrongly claims election fraud was the reason for their victory. It’s wrong and frankly disgusting.

Years of progressive organized resistance, specifically by people of color, turned the tides of this election for President-Elect Joe Biden. Millions of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian people who marched for equality and justice turned out in record-breaking numbers for Biden in places like Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington D.C. Progressive grassroot organizing efforts will continue the fight, and continue to make change, but corporate centrism, which is the core component of the Democratic establishment, will not fight back for them. 

For the past two years, but specifically in the last two weeks, corporate and moderate Democrats have been bombarding Progressive politicians like Senator Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasion Cortez for being “socialists” and “too radical.” This is not new-fashioned though, as Republicans and Democrats have been attacking Progressive candidates for decades now through Red Scare propaganda, as helping working class people from the exploitation of corporations through progressive policies and action wouldn’t be in the best interest of most of their corporate donors.

The modern discourse between moderates and progressives is stemming from the major losses of heavily funded Democrat Senate races like Amy McGrath’s campaign in Kentucky, who she sought to defeat incumbent Mitch McConnell, and Sara Gideon who tried to do the same with Susan Collins in Maine. Progressives will argue that moderates aren’t campaigning correctly to the majority of working-class voters, and moderates will try to refute that statement by saying progressives are speaking out of the “comfort of their ‘safe blue seat.’” However, this point of view is wrong.

As the industrial revolution thrived in the late 19th century, progressive reform policies were enacted and extremely popular in midwestern states, as the Midwest was transitioning from an agrarian society to a mixed agrarian, industrial, and commercial economy. The most notable major reforms took place in Wisconsin, where civil service laws and increased railroad regulation were enacted to protect workers. Progressivism isn’t and was not ever just popular in blue-leaning states.

The problem has little to do with policy, but everything to do with party. Dissociating party from policy dramatically increases the popularity of progressive policies. When recent polling by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan organization that focuses on the research of social and demographic trends is taken into consideration, it’s evident Americans favor a single government healthcare program, otherwise known as Medicare for All. Divulging into that research, 63% of adults in the United States believe the government has a responsibility to provide healthcare coverage for all citizens, up 4% from the polling data conducted in 2019. 

These are not the only examples either. Just in the 2020 election alone, progressive policies won on the ballots in amounts that weren’t seen before. A $15.00 minimum wage was passed in Florida, with 61% of voters voting in favor of it. Marijuana was legalized in Arizona, South Dakota, New Jersey, and Montana. Paid family leave in Colorado was passed with a 57% voting-yes majority. Progressive income taxes for education were also passed in Arizona. Four House seats were won by progressive candidates in the states of Missouri, New York, and Illinois.

Previously mentioned opponents like Amy McGrath and Sara Gideon who ran against Republican incumbents also ran against Medicare for All. A main part of not just their campaign strategy, but the advised strategy of the Democratic Party that led to these moderate candidates being funded in record numbers, was to run against social programs and to almost steer clear of social movements. Hopefully the Democratic Party can learn from the utter failures of these races and put their corporate interests aside.

While Biden defeated Trump in the presidential election, The Democratic Party lost five seats in the house, all of which were held by moderates. They lost one state legislature in New Hampshire, and one governorship in Montana. They also failed to flip any State houses, and they could not take control of the Senate as of this time period, while two Senate races are going to run-offs.

How can a party claiming to be for the working people pass tax plans that create stepped tax increases every two years until nearly everyone would feel the effects of such, except those at the top of the economic hierarchy? How can a party claiming to be for working-class Americans bail out major corporations in sums of almost 500 billion dollars before citizens struggling with the socioeconomic effects of the pandemic? It has become clear progressivism is the only driving factor that can compete against the false notion of the Republican party being the party of the working-class, which is an apparent component of Trumpism as a whole.?

The working-class being protected under Trumpism is an oxymoron, and their interests will never be put first. Progressivism was established to protect workers from the mistreatment of hierarchies, and exploitation of the status quo through social programs and movements. Progressivism inherently ensures power to the people.

If Democrats changed their campaign strategies and engaged clearly and consistently with working class communities, especially Black and Latinx communities, and focused on what is needed and vital in those areas most, they would win with heavy margins in toss-up states. Refusing to acknowledge the popularity of progressivism and egalitarianism will only lead to failure. These past two election seasons proved silencing progressive voices and movements in favor of neo-liberal politicians will only lead to forms of watered-down tyranny.