Trump recognized millions of Americans live in despair, Democrats did not - Sanders

Former Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during a Capitol Hill rally in Washington, DC, U.S. November 17, 2016 © Carlos Barria
Senator Bernie Sanders says he’s ready to work with President-elect Donald Trump to crack down on corporate greed, but won’t give an inch on bigotry. Democrats lost because they ignored the plight of workers and must address that to recover, Sanders said.

Sanders, who mounted a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination but lost out to Hillary Clinton, is on a whirlwind tour of Washington, DC this week, promoting his new book, Our Revolution. On Wednesday, the Senate Democrats appointed him Chair of Outreach, seeking to repair the party still reeling from last week’s defeat in the general election.

“Donald Trump won the election for a number of reasons. But one of the reasons that he won is, in my view, the failure of the Democratic Party that must be rectified,” Sanders told a rally outside the US Capitol on Thursday.

While Trump recognized that “there are millions of people today – working-class people, middle-class people, low-income people – who are living in despair” and turning to alcohol, drugs and suicide, the Democrats did not, Sanders argued.

“Facts are facts. When you lose the White House to the least popular candidate in history of America, when you lose the Senate, when you lose the House, and when two-thirds of governors in this country are Republicans, it is time for a new direction for the Democratic Party,” said the independent senator from Vermont.

The “People’s Rally,” organized by a number of groups that backed Sanders in the Democratic primaries, called for economic, environmental and social justice in the face of a Republican president-elect and a GOP-dominated Congress.

Earlier in the day, at a press breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, Sanders said he would be willing to work with Trump if he cracked down on corporations that have exploited and abandoned American workers.

“If Mr. Trump has the guts to stand up to those corporations, he will have an ally with me,” Sanders said, adding he doubted the president-elect would actually do so. Democrats need to “tell corporate America you cannot keep running all over the world… searching for cheap labor while you destroy the working class of this country,” he added.

Trump won because he “talked about a collapsing middle class in America,” said Sanders. “He is right.”

During the rally outside the Capitol, however, Sanders blasted Trump for being “dangerously wrong” on climate change, and warned the president-elect that Democrats would not give up their social justice causes.

“There is an area where we will not compromise of one iota. We will not compromise on the issues of racism, on sexism, or xenophobia and Islamophobia,” he declared. “We have struggled to move forward and have made real success in making this country a less discriminatory society. We should be proud of the progress we have made. Donald Trump, we are not going back!”