The same popular frustration that saw a majority of Britons vote to abandon the EU could send droves of disgruntled Americans into the arms of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders warned on Wednesday.
In an opinion piece appearing in the New York Times, Sanders wrote that legions of American voters, alienated by the forces of globalization, are ripe for the message of political retrenchment and economic protectionism espoused by Trump.
“Could this rejection of the current form of the global economy happen in the United States? You bet it could,” wrote Sanders, runner-up to Hillary Clinton for the Democrats’ presidential nomination, who will be formally crowned the party’s nominee next month.
“The notion that Donald Trump could benefit from the same forces that gave the ‘Leave’ proponents a majority in Britain should sound an alarm for the Democratic Party in the United States,” Sanders wrote.
“Millions of American voters, like the ‘Leave’ supporters, are understandably angry and frustrated by the economic forces that are destroying the middle class,” he continued.
“In this pivotal moment, the Democratic Party and a new Democratic president need to make clear that we stand with those who are struggling and who have been left behind. We must create national and global economies that work for all, not just a handful of billionaires.”
The Republican Party’s presumed White House nominee, Trump has won the support of millions by echoing many themes embraced by disaffected “Leave” supporters in Britain — including sentiments viewed by some as hostile to immigration.
Sanders, a senator from the state of Vermont and self-described democratic socialist, said economic stagnation is the source of much of the public disaffection in the United States with the status quo.
“Let’s be clear. The global economy is not working for the majority of people in our country and the world. This is an economic model developed by the economic elite to benefit the economic elite. We need real change,” he said.
“But we do not need change based on the demagogy, bigotry and anti-immigrant sentiment that punctuated so much of the Leave campaign’s rhetoric — and is central to Donald J. Trump’s message.”