Trump Woke the Sleeping Giant

by Hillary Kleinz

A year into this Trump administration the American people are disgusted to see that our politics have devolved into an international embarrassment.  Based on recent wins for the Democratic party, Trump’s attempts to use the media as a tool of mass distraction are failing big league. The further we get away from his 2016 victory the more he reveals the Republican party for what it has become, a tool for the extremely wealthy to drain the American workforce.

The Democratic Parties recent victories show that the new crops of Democrats stepping forward to run against the GOP have learned how to talk to both their base and blue-collar Republican voters.  Trump, the man who built his brand around being a billionaire, cynically and hypocritically positioned himself as the person who would fight for the average working man and woman.  He has yet to do anything to help his voters.  He’s helped corporate shareholders with his permanent corporate tax cuts, but he’s also turned average voters into activists, and non-voters into voters against him. The longer he is in office, the more apparent it becomes that he cannot or never intended to deliver on his campaign promises. He is in office because he is an astute carnival barker who knows what catches people’s attention.  The problem now is the voters are paying attention to the actual effects of GOP policies and no longer the talking points they’ve been so effective in delivering over decades.

Once a voter is engaged especially when they learn more about issues and policy it is almost impossible to get them to stop voting.  What was so encouraging about the 2017 election in Lehigh County is that Democrats who had never voted in a municipal election in their lives, came out to vote.  They helped Phillips Armstrong overcome being outspent 10:1 and elected him as our County Executive.  Northampton County flipped their Executive and council majority to Democrat.  The 2017 election results in the Lehigh Valley showed that 2018 has the potential to change politics as usual for the foreseeable future.

We finally got see if this was a trend that would continue in Pennsylvania. The Democrats were able to flip a 20-point Trump District in the narrowest of margins. Conor Lamb won the seat formerly held by Rick Santorum.  Lamb ran against the GOP tax cuts for the wealthy and rejected the corporate PAC donations that paved the way for them.   He was solely focused on the issues that affect the working class regardless of party and embraced unions that the democratic party has neglected and abandoned. He too was outspent 3 to 1, but even an avalanche of money in a deep red districted didn’t guarantee a win. If Democrats can stick to a real economic message, they will win back legislative majorities this year.

There is always a risk that Democrats walk away with the wrong message from these encouraging recent wins.  These victories show that voters are voting for their economic interests, but if they can’t distinguish you from the GOP incumbents on economic issues and corporate influence, they won’t turn out. If Democrats continue to fight for policies that address needs of the working class over Wall Street, the sky is the limit for the victories to come.

Many of us on the left feel like our Democracy is hanging on by a thread, but there is still hope to change things.  We need to win, and we need to win big. It’s time for a bold new democratic majority that enacts policies that help the average person have a more secure future. The voters are entrusting us to act on their behalf, and if we fail, we will have no one to blame but ourselves when Trump or another Trump-inspired GOP creation runs again in 2020.

We need bold ideas with a path to implement them.  We need to have candidates fight for the “pie-in-the-sky” ideas like raising the minimum wage, free college, and investment in our infrastructure.  In those districts that lean to the Democrats, elect bold progressives who will push the message forward.

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