Trump Is No Outlier | Truthout

September 4th, 2015 by | 0

Credit: Photo by ZUMA/REX (2209615c)  Donald Trump  Conservative Political Action Conference, Gaylord Center, Maryland, America – 15 March 2013

Labor Day is nigh. Keep Donald Trump and the Republican Party in mind as you search for enough money in your budget to celebrate. Since the beginning this federal holiday has commemorated labor movement contributions to the birth of the American middle class. Without the labor movement there would be no federal holiday on the first Monday in September.

Donald Trump says plainly what the corporatist Republicans and Democrats imply. Contrary to the reports of Trump’s radical rhetoric, he is mainstream.

There are those who would have you believe that Donald Trump is an aberration among Republican presidential contenders – the black sheep uncle who shows up half-drunk at family gatherings, insults the guests, scandalizes the women, and otherwise brings dishonor to the clan.

Don’t believe them.

Trump is as Republican as capital gains and Richard Nixon.

You might even say that Trump’s the quintessential Republican politician – he’s just willing to say out loud what the rest say only in private. Think Mitt Romney and his infamous “47 percent” remarks, which Romney intended for a fat-cat Republican audience only.

Trump was at it again the other week with a plan for making Detroit’s auto companies more competitive. He would have them pull their manufacturing jobs from the relatively high-paying plants of the north and move them south – to Tennessee, say – where employees are willing to work for less.

Once Detroit workers have learned their lesson and are desperate for jobs, his plan continues, he would offer to move the factories back and pay lower wages than even Tennesseans are willing to accept.

Can there be a more Republican plan than that? Pit workers against each other, driving wages down and profits up. It’s called the free enterprise system.

The reason an American middle class was possible is the labor movement. The American government is not the problem as neoliberals, neoconservatives and Reaganomics contend. Handing corporatists control of government from the school boards through state capitals and all the way to Washington created the crisis. The American middle class is disappearing because the government has been captured by corporatists from both parties. Taxes on working Americans are too high because taxes on corporations and moneyed interests are too low.

The labor movement was behind virtually every progressive advance of the 20th century. The 40-hour work week, pensions, paid vacations, sick leave, safety rules, employer-paid health insurance, and the banning of child labor – all these bore the union label to one degree or another.

In a sense it was the labor movement that created the middle class in this country.

Then the powers that be convinced a good share of the American people that they’re consumers rather than workers – and unions are bad for consumers. Hard-won labor rights, according to this mindset, make things more expensive.

But they also make it possible for ordinary working-class Americans to live a comfortable life, take vacations, and send their kids to college. At least that’s what they used to do. I fear those days are gone forever.

Happy Labor Day … honor it:  search for American made products, support living wages, vote.

Source: Trump’s No Outlier


I've been an investigative reporter for more than 40 years and taught journalism at the college level for another 10. I've owned and trained retrievers, pointers and spaniels for about the same amount of time. My love of the outdoors and interest in cooking, eating and libations has been life-long, starting on my family's farm in Indiana and the hearty home-cooked meals there.

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