How progressives can pressure Trump on 3 key issues – Paul Osterman

MIT Sloan Prof. Paul Osterman

MIT Sloan Prof. Paul Osterman


There is little doubt that the Trump Administration aims to undermine, defund, and repeal much of the progressive agenda. However, progressives have one crucial move they can play to avoid four years of devastating policymaking: using Trump’s own voters against him.

Donald Trump’s Electoral College victory was in no small part due to the support of voters who suffered immensely during the Great Recession and who have still not recovered. Two thirds of all voters thought that their personal financial situation was the same or worse than four years ago and in Wisconsin, where Trump achieved an unexpected victory, the majority of voters believed that the economy was the top issue, despite official indicators of an improving job market.

Trump now faces a paradox. Many of the core elements of his agenda—loosening financial regulation, gutting health care reform, bashing immigrants, attacking unions, undermining the Fair Labor Standards Act—will actually damage the struggling workers and families he pledged to protect. Many of these people voted for Trump in hopes he’d fulfill that promise –even as his policies would do the opposite. So while the Trump Administration may be driven by its ideology to follow through on these proposals, its ultimate success depends on support from voters who would suffer under them.

How will Trump resolve this paradox? There’s no denying that many of his proposed initiatives would inflict pain on his support base. But with pressure from progressives, the president-elect could also be pushed to adopt policies in three key areas that appeal to the blue collar voters of the Trump coalition: skills training, investing in education, and providing support for families.

Read the full post at CNBC

Paul Osterman is the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Professor of Human Resources and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management as well as a member of the Department of Urban Planning at MIT. 

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