Progressive scholars argued during a policy discussion Monday that president-elect Donald Trump tricked workers into supporting him.
The Center for American Progress (CAP) hosted the forum to discuss the upcoming Trump administration. Progressive scholars took the time to argue the president-elect is already failing his working class supporters. They pointed to his cabinet picks and policy proposals as examples of why he’ll be bad for workers.
“President-elect Trump campaigned on a pledge to make America great again and promised working families that he was on their side,” CAP poverty expert Melissa Boteach said. “Unfortunately, he hasn’t even taken the oath of office yet, and it’s becoming more and more apparent that his entire campaign was a bait-and-switch.”
President Barack Obama oversaw an abnormally long economic recovery throughout his time in office. The economy has improved significantly since the last recession, but many Americans are still struggling. Trump made helping workers, particularly those displaced by globalization, a cornerstone of his campaign.
“Now I think we have to hold Donald Trump accountable for the promises he has made to working class families,” CAP President Neera Tanden said. “He’s made a lot of promises to be the spokesperson and the advocate for the families that were struggling in this economy and at least so far it seems those promises have been false.”
Neera adds the policies the president-elect and his party are backing will hurt workers. She pointed to block granting Medicaid, tax giveaways to the wealthy and replacing the Affordable Care Act as a few examples. She argues many of his supporters were likely more interested in his change message than his actual policies.
“This was not a policy-rich debate in the election,” Tanden said. “You have a mixture of voters. People who really supported his agenda and people who didn’t think he was serious about a lot of the things he said. I think a lot of those chickens are coming home to roost.”
Trump promised during the campaign he would fight the political establishment and corruption. His slogan to drain the swamp became symbolic of ridding Washington D.C. of its embedded establishment. Tanden notes his appointments indicate an opposing approach.
“We had a candidate who has an incoming administration in which he promised to drain the swamp,” Tanden said. “[He] seems to be filling the swamp with people who are his donors, who have a record of opposing and actually a record of making working people’s lives harder.”
Trump has been met with fierce opposition over his cabinet picks thus far. CKE Restaurants President Andy Puzder was called a sexist and bashed for not paying his workers properly when he was nominated for labor secretary. Steven Mnuchin was denounced for his time working on Wall Street when picked for treasury secretary.
“He campaigned on creating good jobs but rather than propose real policies to crack down on unfair trade practice and level the playing field upwards, he’s picking his own winners and losers,” Boteach said. “He campaigned on raising wages but his cabinet picks are a who’s who of Wall Street tycoons who are hostile to working families.”
Puzder would have a lot of influence over the working class if his nomination is approved by the Senate. The Department of Labor is the primary federal agency for enforcing and issuing workplace policies. Others have argued he could bring balance to an agency which was highly politicized during the current administration.
Trump was able to secure many traditionally Democratic working-class districts during the election. He will have the chance to prove whether his platform will actually help workers when he is sworn in as president on Jan. 20.
The Trump transition team did not respond to a request for comment by InsideSources.