Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) didn’t win the Democratic Party’s nomination for President. The Democratic Party didn’t win the Presidential Election. And the Democratic Party didn’t regain control of either house of Congress.
Now, many of those alarmed by the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump are turning to Sanders for guidance as to how to wage an effective opposition force. His main point? Organization is everything.
“We need to organize in a way that we have never organized before,” Sanders told On Point host Tom Ashbrook in an interview Thursday, December 22. “We need to bring working people all across this country — black, white, Latino, Asian American, Native American — together to tell Mr. Trump that will not tolerate the formation of an oligarchy in this country.”
In a statement the Senator’s office released the day after the election, Sanders offered some areas in which he and other progressive politicians might find common ground with the President-elect.
“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.”
But in Thursday’s conversation, the Senator pushed back on Ashbrook’s interpretation of the statement, while nevertheless identifying a few key areas in which Trump’s stated aims could meet up with those of Sanders.
“There are issues that of course we’re gonna work with him,” Sanders said. “Our infrastructure is crumbling. If Trump comes up with a reasonable proposal, of course that’s something we should work together on…. I voted against all of these disastrous trade agreements, I wanna see new trade agreements. Should we work together on new trade policies, to encourage corporations to invest in America, not just in China? Yeah, we should.”
Beyond the above, however, Sanders made it clear that he and his political allies would be opposed to the President-elect.
“On virtually every issue, we’ve gotta be in vigorous opposition,” Sanders said. “We have got to mobilize people and use the resources that we have in the Congress to stop those ugly attacks against immigrants, Muslims. We cannot compromise one inch in terms of bigotry.”
And, the Senator noted, such opposition will be met with applause by most American voters.
“On every major important issue, the American people are on our side,” Sanders said. “We can defeat Trump, we can stop his ugly initiatives, we can push forward some progressive initiatives, if we are effective at organizing and mobilizing millions of people….The only way that we are effective and stop bad things are when people mobilize and fight back. If we stand together, I think we can effectively take on his ugly ideas and continue the fight for a progressive vision for this country.”