Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said the Democratic Party didn't pay enough attention to the working class of America, which is why President-elect Donald Trump won the election.
“Here’s what happened: Do we have racists and sexists in this country? We do. On the other hand, I think that Trump touched a nerve on the part of the country that media doesn’t often talk about,” Sanders said on TV talk show "The View." “And that is, you’ve got a middle class for the last 40 years that has been shrinking. You’ve got people working two or three jobs ... And people all over this country -- black, and white and Latino -- are saying, ‘What about me? Who’s going to stand up for me?'”
Trump's upset victory has been attributed to his ability to win working class voters in the Rust Belt states, where former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was widely expected to win easily -- so much so that she never campaigned in Wisconsin during the general election, according to Business Insider.
While Sanders conceded that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party neglected working class voters, and those people voted for the Republican Party, he condemned Trump's anti-immigrant ad anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail.
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“Here’s what is not acceptable: This country has struggled too many years to fight against discrimination. And the fight against bigotry and sexism. We are not going to accept a president trying to divide us up,” Sanders said. “We have little girls, who wear ‘kerchiefs, who now are scared to death that somebody is going to be picking on them.”
He continued: “Our enemies are not some Latino guy, some Mexican-American working in a tomato field making nine bucks an hour. Those are not our enemies and I don’t want millions of people being worried today about families being separated. I’ve seen too much of that. We’re going to fight against sexism, racism and xenophobia.”
Sanders ran against Clinton in the Democratic primary on a platform focused on economic inequality and beat Trump by large numbers in polls taken during the first half of 2016, according to Real Clear Politics.
The Vermont senator's political message and high favorability numbers compared to Clinton, who struggled with low popularity numbers, has led some to believe he would have beaten Trump, according to The Washington Post. Clinton's problems were in part due to ongoing FBI investigations into her private email server while she served as secretary of state, as well as questions about the Clinton Foundation.
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When asked if he thought he could have won, Sanders replied: “Who knows and who will ever know? The point is we have to talk about the future and how we go forward.”