Broken Democratic Party’s New Message: Donald Trump is Really the ‘Establishment,’ Not Really ‘Populist’

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent …
Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty

Leaders of the broken Democratic Party have a new message to try to stop Republican President Donald J. Trump: He’s a part of the political “establishment” and is not really a “populist” president.

“Let me just say about his address, it was populist, but I’m worried he’s using populist rhetoric to cover up a hard-right agenda,” Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “If you look at his Cabinet appointments, so many of them are not populist, but hard-right.”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), a leading candidate for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and hardcore progressive leftist, actually Tweeted that Trump is not really a populist. Ellison’s argument is because President Trump raised Federal Housing Administration mortgage fees back to the levels they were at before former President Barack Obama, on his way out of office, slashed them.

Schumer similarly hammered Trump for this, but even the anti-Trump and highly liberal editorial board of the Washington Post—which is funded by Trump detractor and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos—stood up for Trump in this regard with a scathing editorial bashing Democrats for criticizing Trump over this.

“One of the Obama administration’s final actions was to slash the fee that mortgage borrowers must pay for Federal Housing Administration insurance on eligible loans,” the Post’s editorial board wrote. “One of President Trump’s first actions Jan. 20 was to suspend that move pending further study. Democrats accused him of heartlessly hiking costs for the FHA’s low- and moderate-income clientele by $500 per year on a typical $200,000 loan.”

They quoted Schumer’s statement, which accused Trump of hypocrisy on populism and standing up for American workers and families. “One hour after talking about helping working people and ending the cabal in Washington that hurts people, he signs a regulation that makes it more expensive for new homeowners to buy mortgages,” Schumer said.

But, the Washington Post shot down the Democratic leader as fast as he shot at Trump, in just two words: “Well, no.” The Post proceeded to dismantle Schumer’s and Ellison’s arguments against Trump.

But Schumer and Ellison aren’t the only Democrats trying out the new talking points accusing Trump of being part of the establishment: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is also calling the notion that Trump is anti-establishment “absurd.” Sanders’ argument? That Trump’s cabinet is too rich and successful for him to really be anti-establishment.

The Democratic Party is in tough shape after getting swept in the 2016 elections. They lost the White House, failed to pick up majorities in either the U.S. House or U.S. Senate, and saw Republicans retain a majority of governorships and bolster GOP control of statehouses nationwide. Now, they can’t even elect a DNC chair to succeed interim chairwoman Donna Brazile–who along with ex-chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) was caught aiding failed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primaries against Sanders in an unfair manner–without serious problems.

Ellison is just one of many candidates for the post, and along fellow candidate former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and the others, wants to take the Democratic Party even further left away from standing up for American workers–leaving Trump an opening where labor union leaders like the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka and the Teamsters’ Jimmy Hoffa among others are praising Trump while their rank-and-file members support Trump in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and elsewhere.


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