“Not my president!” came the call from ahead, in the distance.
“Not my president!” came the reply, directly in front of me, as the protest, thousands strong, passed by on its way from Union Square Park to Trump Tower in New York City.
Legions of angry millennials, many of whom were former Sanders supporters, had taken to the streets in outrage over Donald J. Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election.
On Tuesday night, Democrats suffered a staggering defeat at the hands of the GOP, waking up the next morning to the knowledge that Trump had been elected President of the United States. Arguably the most qualified candidate to run for office in generations, who had the most powerful political machine in history backing her, and who had the strongest ground game, lost to the least qualified, least prepared candidate to run for office in generations.
How did this happen?
Sometimes the simplest explanations are best. In this case that is true.
The Democratic Party ultimately turned its back on working class voters which had made up its base since the New Deal Era, embracing instead an ideology known as neoliberalism. The transformation began in the ‘70s, when Democrats started wooing big business interests, and really hit its stride in the ‘90s with the Clintons and their New Democrats. This new breed of Democrat helped push Republican President Ronald Reagan’s economic agenda, embracing deregulation, laissez-faire trade policies, and protecting corporate interests abroad. Over the last four decades, the economy has been defined by growing inequality, uncertainty, and recession.
2016 saw the rise of populism across the western world. From Europe with the Brexit vote to the United States where Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side, and billionaire Donald Trump on the Republican side, led parallel uprisings on different sides of the aisle, people rejected the idea of an unrestrained global economy that has been pushed over the last 40 years.
But while the GOP establishment had been weakened following the 2012 defeat of its candidate, Mitt Romney, and as a result was unable to stop Trump, the Democrats had no such experience. The party lined up behind Hillary Clinton, who it saw as a safe choice in spite of the fact that she represented everything the working class was busy rejecting. Insisting that the country was heading in the right direction, requiring incremental change, the party underestimated the anger around the country, and Trump won.
Stunned Clinton supporters did not know how to react, or who or what to blame.
One person who did understand the situation, and indeed who predicted the outcome of the election in July, was activist and movie director Michael Moore. Paste managed to catch up with Mr. Moore at the protest in New York City on Wednesday, as he was surrounded by journalists, and ask him some questions.
Paste: Do you think the Democratic Party will take the right lesson from this?
Moore: No. That’s why we’re going to take it over. It’s the only way to deal with it now.
Paste: Do you have any idea who we might run in four years? A progressive? Someone without the flaws that Clinton had?
Moore: Yeah I have an idea.
At this point, someone asked about the possibility of Andrew Cuomo running.
Moore: No fucking way! We’re done with these Democrats! These old school—
Someone then interjected, “Well who is going to run, then?”
Moore: The young generation is going to come up and run this country. No more Cuomos, Clintons, Bushes…
Paste: What about Nina Turner?
Moore: That’s not a bad idea…
See the whole interaction below:
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