Bernie Sanders went into hostile territory for progressives and convinced the president’s supporters in West Virginia that Donald Trump’s campaign was a massive con job and his policies would hurt the voters he promised to help the most.
This is particularly true in McDowell County, West Virginia, one of the poorest counties in the country that overwhelmingly supported Trump in last fall’s presidential election. Despite their support for Trump, those living in the deep red county will likely be hurt the most by what Republicans are trying to do, especially with health care.
During the town hall event with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Sanders laid out how Trumpcare will hurt those who need coverage the most, like coal miners in West Virginia, and mainly benefit the wealthy.
What [Trumpcare] should be seen as is a huge tax break for the wealthiest people in this country. At a time when we have a massive level of income and wealth inequality, where the rich are getting much richer while the middle-class shrinks, this legislation would provide, over a ten-year period, $275 billion in tax breaks to the top 2 percent. So when people tell you that we don’t have a money to invest in McDowell County or rebuild our infrastructure nationally, but we do have $275 billion to give to the top 2 percent who are already doing phenomenally well – when they tell you they don’t have the money, don’t believe them.
Not only did Sanders debunk the myth that Trump and Republicans constantly feed to their base of supporters that there isn’t enough room in the budget to help those who need it most, but he also convinced one coal miner – a man who voted for Trump – that it’s time to make health care in the United States a universal right.
Sanders asked the Trump voter, “What do you think, do you think we should join other countries and guarantee health care as a right of all?”
“Yeah, I think every American citizen should have health care,” the Trump voter responded to applause.
Republicans have successfully fooled working- and middle-class voters – especially those in white, rural areas – into thinking their policies will help them the most when in reality, voters in places like McDowell County, West Virginia stand to lose the most under the new president.
Democrats need to continue hammering the point, as Sanders did, that while Republicans talk a good game about being the party of blue-collar workers, it’s Democratic policies that will – and historically have – helped them the most.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.