Today, if he is a racist and a sexist, tomorrow he may be a great civil rights champion — if he thinks it gets him five more votes. He has no core values. I would not be shocked that if the Democrats passed popular, good legislation, that Trump would look around him and say, “Hey, why not? What do I give a damn?” And he may come on board, because ultimately he doesn’t believe in anything except winning. So I believe it’s terribly important that the Democrats come out of the gate full-steam ahead and start passing really good legislation that puts Trump and the Republicans on the defensive.
Evidently, this is clueless about Trump’s racism. While Trump is certainly a liar and an opportunist, he’s been a racist his whole life. And downplaying this suggests that Bernie still doesn’t understand why he lost the primaries in 2016.
But what I find more troubling is the cluelessness about politics. Even if Trump wasn’t a racist, more to the point is that he has no politically viable path that doesn’t involve mobilizing racism. For the same reasons, the economic populist pivot people like John Judis keep expecting is not happening, because maintaining support from the Republican conference in Congress depends on his adopting their agenda. Not only is Trump not going to sign any good legislation a Democratic House passes, there’s zero chance Mitch McConnell would ever let it get to his desk. Passing some good legislation and forcing Senate Republicans to stop it might be worthwhile, but creating a baseless expectation that the new Democratic House can actually get good legislation enacted into law is both erroneous and bad politics.