Sen. Bernie Sanders has vowed to hold Donald Trump accountable on a whole host of issues, promising to fight Trump “tooth and nail” on tax policy, which would cut taxes for the top 1% of earners by $317,000 per year, and climate change –something that Trump has dismissed as a “hoax”. But the Vermont Senator said the President-elect will find himself with an ally if he makes good on his promise to be an economic populist challenging corporate America.
“If Mr. Trump has the guts to stand up to those corporations, he will have an ally with me,” The Sanders said Thursday at a Christian Science Monitor-sponsored breakfast, CNN reported.
Sanders, a longtime democratic socialist, told reporters he is ready to embrace Trump on a handful of campaign promises. Those include protecting Social Security and Medicare, negotiating for lower drug prices, raising the minimum wage to $10, imposing tariffs on companies that ship jobs overseas, and re-regulating Wall Street by re-establishing Glass-Steagall. On these issues, Trump’s promises put the President-elect closer to Sanders than to most Republican Party leaders.
By embracing Trump’s left-leaning stands, Sanders is hoping to make progress on issues of long-standing concern to the Vermont senator. If Trump backs away from these promises and sides with the conventional conservatives who lead the Republican Party in Congress, Sanders believes that Trump will be exposed as a “fraud.”
The inclination on the part of Sanders to work with Trump on a series of economic issues underscores the unorthodox and strikingly populist message that Trump used during his stunning victory over Hillary Clinton.
Sanders, who is stepping into the leadership vacuum of the Democratic Party, said that Hillary Clinton “has a very important role to play” in rebuilding the Democratic Party, noting that she received more votes than Trump.
“Does that mean she and I are going to agree on every issue?” Sanders said. “Frankly, we are not going to agree on every issue, but her voice is important to be heard.”
But even as Sanders offers to work with Trump on the populist components of his economic program, critical differences remain.
The Vermont Senator is calling on Trump to fire Steve Bannon, the controversial former Breitbart executive who was recently named chief strategist of the Trump White House.
Sanders rebuked Trump’s promise to prosecute Hillary Clinton, saying it would be “an outrage” that would “completely divide the country” if Trump were to make good on his promise to appoint a special prosecutor to “lock up” Clinton.
Sanders also promise vowed to become “Trump’s worst nightmare” if he goes after minorities.