By David Starr
Donald Trump a savior for workers? And inner cities? That's like saying Pope Francis is the leader of a satanic cult. But that's how Trump is projecting himself.
In a June 2016 rally in Monessen, Pennsylvania, Trump declared that "globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very, very, wealthy. I used to be one of them. Hate to say it, but I used to be one." Used to? Trump hasn't exactly sold off his multi-million dollar fortune and donned a pair of worker's cover-alls.
But Trump praises workers, in this case steelworkers: "The legacy of Pennsylvania steelworkers lives on in the bridges, railways and skyscrapers that make up our great American landscape." Yeah, steelworkers with union jobs and good benefits. Isn't Trump, however, against unions?
Trump has even used the Economic Policy Institute-a left-leaning source-to condemn "politicians [who] have pursued a policy of globalization - moving our jobs wealth and factories to Mexico and overseas." But Trump and his daughter Invanka have profitted handsomely from goods produced in their names in other countries, and thus from globalization.
Trump promised the audience that he would make communities hit by globalization recover. And fast. He declared that "the American people [are going to] take back their future." Also declaring, "I'll do it. No doubt about it. Not even a little doubt." Does that mean giving up his overseas investments produced from globalization? Like his other promises, Trump was long on rhetoric and short on substance.
Regarding wages in the U.S., Trump mentioned that they are very low "because there's no competition." Wages are low because of economic inequality. The competition is there, but it's cutthroat: capital is further dominating labor. If it was the other way around, there would be decent pay. Labor would be the priority, and thus the focus would be on achieving better pay. That would mean that workers would share the rewards based on what they produce.
As for inner cities, Trump made a pitch at a rally in West Bend, Wisconsin (which is 95% white). He talked about law and order, calling the events in Milwaukee "an assault on the rights of all citizens to live in security and peace." The riots are the result of a broken system relating to the tense relationship between cops and inner cities.
Trump doesn't see it that way: "The main victims of these riots are law-abiding African-Americans living in these neighborhoods. It is their jobs, their communities and schools that will suffer as a result." The continuation of racist attitudes is one problem along with poverty. But in simplistic terms, Trump blames the "narrative of cops as a racist force." No acknowledgment of the racism itself.
Trump also doesn't acknowledge the justification of demonstrators to protest against racism, saying, he'll listen to the "quiet voices in our society, not the loudest demonstrators."
Regarding economic policies for inner cities, Trump supports the same old formula that both Republicans and Democrats have supported for years on end: neoliberal economics. Appearing on CNN, Boris Epshteyn-senior advisor for the Trump campaign-said that Trump will fix inner cities with investments, revitalizing the economy and tax incentives. Investments to give corporations the advantage, revitalizing the economy for the wealthy to prosper and tax incentives so corporations continue to not have to pay their fair share.
Additionally, Trump is in debt from his businesses to the tune of $650 million. One could imagine what the national debt would be if he were president.
Donald Trump has proclaimed that he is the one to help workers and inner cities. But it won't work. After all, his class interests clash with the class interests of workers and inner cities.