Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

During the Democratic primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders met with and supported striking Verizon workers. (Photo: Reuters)

Trump Won Because Democratic Party Failed Working People, Says Sanders

Former Democratic candidate said he will not rule out another presidential bid in 2020

Lauren McCauley

Adding his voice to the chorus of condemnation heaped on the Democratic Party in the wake of Donald Trump's election victory, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday attributed the Republican win to the failure of the liberal elite to represent working people.

"It is an embarrassment, I think, to the entire of [the] Democratic Party that millions of white working-class people decided to vote for Mr. Trump, which suggests that the Democratic message of standing up for working people no longer holds much sway among workers in this country," the progressive senator and one-time presidential candidate told the Associated Press.

"You cannot be a party which on one hand says we're in favor of working people, we're in favor of the needs of young people but we don't quite have the courage to take on Wall Street and the billionaire class," he continued. "People do not believe that. You've got to decide which side you're on."

Sanders—who, according to hypothetical polls conducted during the primary, would have posed a more formidable challenge to Trump than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton—told the news outlet that he is "not ruling out" another presidential bid in 2020. But, the 75-year-old senator from Vermont said that, for now, he is focused on rebuilding the party.

Among the potential changes to be made, Sanders told AP that he would recommend Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) to lead the Democratic National Committee (DNC), a position that Ellison has been reportedly vying for.

The interview comes one day after Sanders issued a statement saying he is prepared to work with the president-elect "[t]o the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country."

But, the senator indicated on Thursday he did not think that would be likely. "I hope I'm wrong, but I believe that he is a fraud, and I think despite all of his rhetoric about being a champion of the working class, it will turn out to be hollow," Sanders said.

In an appearance on CNN late Thursday afternoon,  when asked if he could have beaten Trump, Sanders said, "What good does it do now?"


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

EPA Urged to 'Finish the Job' After Latest Move to Protect Bristol Bay From Pebble Mine

"Local residents, scientists, and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine, and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently," said one activist in Alaska.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Zero Tolerance for Corruption': Grijalva, Porter Demand Answers on Alleged Trump Pardon Bribery Scheme

The Democrats believe a real estate developer donated to a Trump-aligned super PAC in exchange for the pardons of two other men.

Julia Conley ·


Millions of Americans Lack Adequate Health Coverage, But the Pentagon Has a New Nuclear Bomber to Flaunt

"This ominous death machine, with its price tag of $750 million a pop, brings huge profits to Northrop Grumman but takes our society one more step down the road of spiritual death," peace activist Medea Benjamin said of the new B-21 Raider.

Brett Wilkins ·


Betrayal of Railway Workers Ignites Working-Class Fury Toward Biden and Democrats

"Politicians are happy to voice platitudes and heap praise upon us for our heroism throughout the pandemic," said one rail leader. "Yet when the steel hits the rail, they back the powerful and wealthy Class 1 rail carriers every time."

Jessica Corbett ·


With GOP House Control Looming, Pascrell Calls for Swift Release of Trump Tax Records

"Donald Trump tried to hide his tax returns from our oversight but after 1,329 days we have finally obtained the documents," said the New Jersey Democrat. "We should review and release them."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo