While he campaigned under the pretense of being a “populist,” the current president is anything but. Donald Trump is a billionaire who represents the interests of the richest one-tenth of 1%. He is a demagogue who spouts off against the wealthy elite on Wall Street, but whose every act is intended to further enrich their (and his own) coffers and support the Pentagon’s war drive.
The capitalist mass media deliberately misuse the word “populist” in describing Trump. They know that millions of people are furious at the filthy rich for amassing more wealth even as their own incomes stagnate or shrink. The corporate media and Trump are trying to steer that anger to the right, to racism, xenophobia and every kind of bigotry used to divide people.
But historically, the term populist was associated with leftist, grassroots movements against the robber barons and bankers, the Wall Street elite.
So while #45 pretends to represent “the people” and says, with his presidency, “the people became rulers of this nation again,” it’s a bold-faced lie, full of racist innuendo.
The corporate media are complicit. Even as they call him a “populist,” they know it’s just a pretext to cover up Trump’s loyalty to the millionaires and billionaires who make up the capitalist class. With his arrogance and unpredictability, Trump may be creating enemies everywhere — including among his own class and even his staff — but he and his buddies in Congress have thrown billions of dollars at the feet of the plutocrats and the war makers, cutting taxes on the wealthy and feeding the monstrous military-industrial-banking machine.
Now the White House is proposing a Robin-Hood-in-reverse budget that would transfer billions of government dollars from essential social services to — surprise, surprise — the super-rich and the military-industrial complex. The Pentagon’s already bloated budget would soak up almost $200 billion more. Another $46 billion is earmarked for Department of Homeland Security’s “immigration enforcement” program.
This $4.1 trillion budget would significantly increase the federal deficit, meaning hundreds of billions of the people’s money will be sucked into interest payments to the bankers. At the same time, $1.8 trillion would be stolen from vital government health care, food and housing programs — dealing a brutal blow to workers, retirees, low-income and disabled individuals.
Trump-the-candidate promised not to cut Medicare and Medicaid, providers of health coverage for 100 million people. But Trump-the-president is proposing hundreds of billions of dollars in cutbacks from both programs.
Food stamps would be slashed at the same time that work requirements would be imposed on people relying on them. Boxes of processed foodstuffs – excluding fresh produce – would substitute for a portion of the coupons used to buy real food. How seniors, disabled people and the homeless would even get them is not in the plan.
In the long run, this shift of even more wealth to the ruling class hurts the whole working class. In the short run, it is felt most by people already pushed down the furthest — African-Americans, Latinx, Indigenous and immigrants, as well as women, gender nonconforming people, those with disabilities, youth and seniors.
Trump’s much-touted “infrastructure” plan fosters privatization, letting his wealthy friends purchase highways, tunnels and bridges and then charging the working class — whose taxes paid for all this — to use them!
While the Democratic Party focuses its anti-Trump efforts on Russia influencing the election, workers need to recognize our real enemy: not just Trump, but the whole class of capitalists who finance both parties in order to prolong their dying system, a system that lets them profit off our labor every day and throw us away when they don’t need us anymore.