Trump, Bannon, Sanders and Schumer could make deal of the century


Don’t be surprised if the coming presidency of Donald Trump creates, on certain major issues, shocking alliances on surprising issues.

One of those issues could turn out to be the creation of millions of high-paying new American jobs to rebuild the decaying roads, bridges, ports, schools, streets, airports and rails of America.

{mosads}For the record, let me say again that for myself and most liberals and Democrats, the election of Trump as president could well turn out to be a dark day in the history of the nation. We are a deeply divided nation, with divisions that were dramatically worsened by the kind of campaign run by the president-elect and the divisive ideology promoted by his most prominent supporters, including campaign chairman and soon-to-be chief strategist Steve Bannon.

In other words, I am not going soft on Trump.

Nevertheless, it is important for everyone to fully understand that on many issues, Trump is far from a traditional Republican or traditional conservative.

There are many issues where we progressives must fight Trump to the finish line, but there might occasionally be important issues where there might be grounds for significant agreement.

One of the most fascinating and powerful opportunities for a cross-cutting alliance between Democrats and Trump is the rebuilding of America and our decaying infrastructure.

Trump has proposed a program that would cost approximately $1 trillion. Hillary Clinton and Democrats have supported the same kind of program at more modest levels.

And within Trump circles, one of the most fierce advocates of a massive jobs program is Steve Bannon!

However much we progressives may vehemently disagree with Bannon on a long list of issues and attitudes, the potential for a unique area of agreement on a massive jobs program should be explored by all progressives and Democrats. The incoming Senate minority leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said, wisely in my view, that he will work Trump when possible to achieve shared goals.

The problem that Trump will have enacting a major program is that many conventional Republicans in Congress will either oppose it, or support a dramatically smaller version of it that would be an economically meaningless continuation of business as usual in Washington.

Trump may need Democratic votes to bring such a plan to fruition, and Democrats should offer to provide those votes and more if the structure of his program is consistent with our values and visions.

On jobs, in principle, one thing that Trump, Bannon and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and other progressives share is to think big and act boldly. The bigger the jobs program, the better; the more jobs created by the jobs program, the better. These are American jobs, with high wages, that would serve the nation well.

The jobs created by a program to rebuild America would help voters of every race and background in every region of the nation. This would be particularly helpful to the working -lass voters in the Rust Belt who largely supported Trump in the election, whom progressives and all Democrats need to better bond with going forward, which creates the potential of a political common interest on this one important issue.

Beyond agreeing to think big and act boldly, it would be required for Trump and Democrats to agree to structure the program in a way that does not become a banquet for lobbyists and would fail to reduce economic unfairness and inequality in America.

There are ways to financially structure a program to rebuild America, such as creating a Rebuild America bank, or to sell Rebuild America bonds on public markets, that could merge the goals, program and philosophies of Trump, Democrats and middle America.

It is possible to create a program that could win support from Trump and Schumer, and from Sanders and Bannon.

This will not be easy, but it can be done and would win support and acclaim from workers across the nation.

The project to rebuild America could be the deal of the century.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.


Tags Bernie Sanders Chuck Schumer Donald Trump Hillary Clinton

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video